Season Preview: Texas Tech
Last Season: 18-14
Key Losses: Anthony Livingston, Aaron Ross, Devon Thomas
Key Additions: Davide Moretti, Josh Webster, Hyron Edwards
Other than a couple surprising upsets, the Red Raiders had a rather poor season in head coach Chris Beard’s first season, finishing seventh in the conference with a 6-12 in-conference record. Beard had previously spent a season as head coach at Little Rock, where he lead them to a Sun Belt conference tournament title before knocking off Purdue in the NCAA tournament. It probably won’t be that much easier for him this year as he lost a couple of key players, although Texas Tech did add a couple of quality players for the coming season.
Perhaps the most intriguing acquisition is the 6’2″ Italian guard Davide Moretti. The Italy native averaged just under 15 points per game last year in the FIBA championships. Perhaps what he is more known for though, is his ability to dish the ball, averaging 5 assists in the European championships as well. Moretti has a little to prove though, as it looks like he will be competing with the more proven Keenan Evans for playing time. The 6’3″ Texas native averaged 15.4 points per game last year, and was by far the team’s post potent player offensively. Not far behind him is center Zach Smith, who put up double-double range numbers on almost a nightly basis with 12.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Look for those two to take control as floor generals this season as they wait for the newer players to acclimate to the system.
Even though they lost Livingston and Ross after last season, it looks like Texas Tech can still perform similarly to last year, if not a little better than their just above .500 winning percentage. Coach Beard will likely still have to settle for finishing in the bottom half of the Big 12 again this year based on the talent they have compared to the rest of the conference. An NCAA tournament appearance is not probable, but they have a shot at making the NIT.
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Davide Moretti
SG: Keenan Evans
SF: Niem Stevenson
PF: Justin Gray
C: Zach Smith