2019 NCAA Tournament: How Texas Tech made it to the Final Four for the first time in school history
What to know about the Red Raiders, who are making their first-ever appearance in the Final Four
No. 3 seed Texas Tech advanced to its first ever Final Four on Saturday after it defeated No. 1 seed Gonzaga 75-69 in the West Regional final. The Red Raiders are not known to be a basketball school, but coach Chris Beard has brought this team to the Elite Eight two years in a row.
Texas Tech's path to the Final Four wasn't easy. Before the Red Raiders beat the No. 1 Zags in the Elite Eight, they defeated No. 2 seed Michigan in the Sweet 16. Here's Texas Tech's 2019 NCAA Tournament results:
- First round: vs. No. 14 Northern Kentucky, -- W, 72-57
- Second round: vs. No. 6 Buffalo -- W, 78-58
- Sweet 16: vs. No. 2 Michigan -- W, 63-44
- Elite Eight: vs. No. 1 Gonzaga -- W, 75-69
The Red Raiders have won seven NCAA Tournament games in the last two years. Prior to that, the team had only won six games in the NCAA Tournament in its history.
Here's what else you need to know about Texas Tech's Final Four run.
Beard's latest succeess story
Beard did not get his first Division I head coaching job until 2015, when he took the job with Arkansas-Little Rock. He won the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament, leading UALR to its first fifth-ever NCAA Tournament. His team defeated Purdue in double overtime in the first round before losing to Iowa State. He was named Sun Belt Coach of the Year.
Beard left UALR after one season and took the job at UNLV in March 2016. But less than three weeks later, Tubby Smith left Texas Tech to go to Memphis and Beard decided to leave Las Vegas for to take the Red Raiders' job, returning to the school he was an assistant at for a decade under Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight and later his son, Pat.
In his three years in Lubbock, Texas, Beard has taken the Red Raiders to the Elite Eight twice, the only two apperances in school history. He was named the Big 12 Co-Coach of Year in 2018 and won the award in 2019. He is only the third coach in conference history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.
Red Raiders bring the D
Texas Tech has been one of the best defensive teams in the country all season. The Red Raiders are ranked third in the nation in scoring defense and second in the nation in defensive field goal percentage. In the Sweet 16, it held Michigan to 44 points, the lowest the Wolverines scored in a game since 2014. In the Elite Eight, Gonzaga, the best shooting team in the country, shot 44 percent from the field and 27 percent from beyond the 3-point line.
Culver goes unheralded recruit to lottery
Jarrett Culver was ranked the No. 312 prospect in the 2017 recruiting class, according to 247Sports. Now the sophomore is projected to be a lottery pick if he declares for the NBA Draft. He is a 6-foot-6 guard who can score the ball exceptionally well, rebound and guard a couple of different positions. He was named the Big 12 Player of the Year this season, becoming the first Texas Tech player to win the award.
Third school is a charm?
Texas Tech has received a lot of help this year from two grad transfers, Tariq Owens and Matt Mooney. Mooney, who played one year at Air Force and the previous two years at South Dakota, has started all 36 games for the Red Raiders. He is third on the team in scoring, averaging 11 points per game, and is second in assists.
Owens is also at his third college stop. He played one year at Tennessee, before playing the last two years at St. Johns. The big man has started 35 games this year and is one of the best shot blockers in the country, averaging 2.4 blocks per game.
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