MINNEAPOLIS -- Texas Tech's unlikely run to the national championship game has been fueled by more than defense. Hip-hop artist Lil Nas X, an unlikely figure, has also played a key role.
The Red Raiders have taken to the rapper and his new country/rap banger, "Old Town Road."
The song that is flying up national charts has been a rallying cry for the team.
"I think 'Old Town Road' is the diversity we're looking for in our program," Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. "I like country. These guys like rap. It's both. The first time we heard it, we just ran with it."
The song has been a staple for postgame celebrations for Texas Tech. When the team knocked off No. 1 seed Gonzaga to advance to the Final Four, there was "Old Town Road" blaring in the locker room. Beard jumping up and down. Players rejoicing.
"Credit to Kyler Edwards," starting center Norense Odiase said about the originations of the discovery of the song. "He showed the guys as soon as it came out, and we kept playing it over and over and over. We have a lot of fun with it."
When Texas Tech defeated Michigan State on Saturday here in Minneapolis, the song played over the loudspeakers at U.S. Bank Stadium and was met by an uproar from Tech fans in attendance. As for Texas Tech players, there was no video of a postgame listening and celebration with the song. But you can be sure if Monday's game against Virginia ends in a victory, Lil Nas X's voice will be blasting at U.S. Bank Stadium again.