19. Texas Tech (15-3)
We’ve said before and we’ll repeat again: Grant McCasland is exceeded expectations in his first season leading Texas Tech. The Red Raiders performed well in nonconference, but it’s clear that how they perform against a very tough Big 12 will tell us a lot about this squad. To this point in the season, it’s hard to be disappointed, as they ran off a nine-game winning streak leading up to this week.
Their 3-0 start to Big 12 play would come to an end on Wednesday, with a dreadful 77-54 road loss against Houston. A porous defensive effort doomed the Red Raiders, who fell despite 18 points from Kerwin Walton. It was shaping up to be a truly horrid week after falling behind by 17 points against BYU, but the Red Raiders’ fierce second half rally gave them a 85-78 win over those Cougars. Much of the thanks is due to Pop Isaacs, who starred with 32 points while Warren Washington added 19 points and 9 rebounds.
Yes, their showing against Houston was awful and was clearly their worst performance of the season but they didn’t let that drag them down. That awesome second half effort against BYU saved what could have been an abysmal week and kept Texas Tech in these rankings. Just know that the Red Raiders will be challenged a lot in Big 12 play and they’ve passed most of the early challenges. We’ll see how next weekend goes in Norman against a strong Sooners squad.