I might not be President of the "Chris Beard Fan Club." But, if there is one, I have to at least be on the Board of Directors because I've been singing his praises for years -- first when he won 30 games at Little Rock, then when he did unprecedented and largely unimaginable things at Texas Tech in consecutive years.
He's a GREAT coach.
He's a TERRIFIC storyteller.
Texas Tech's administration should continue to give him every tool it can to win, and every dollar it can to keep him, for as long as it has a men's basketball program. And I suspect that's 100% the plan. But none of this means Beard is immune to bad weeks. And, undeniably, last week was a bad week.
Let me walk you through it.
This time last week, Texas Tech was 12th in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, largely because Beard got the benefit of the doubt from voters in the preseason. His Red Raiders were 13th in the preseason poll. And thanks to the fact that they started 5-0 while other teams lost, they had moved up one spot to No. 12.
Then last week happened.
First, on Thursday, the Red Raiders lost 72-61 on a neutral court to an unranked Iowa team. Then, on Friday, the Red Raiders lost 83-76 in overtime on a neutral court to an unranked Creighton team. So now Texas Tech is 5-2 with zero wins over schools ranked inside the top 240 at KenPom and two losses to schools ranked outside of the top 45 at KenPom. Put another way, Texas Tech is 0-2 against top-240 opponents. So, predictably, and rightfully, the Red Raiders fell completely out of the on Monday.
But Troy Provost-Heron did his best to prevent it.
Provost-Heron, a writer for The Daily Times in Tennessee, had Texas Tech ranked 11th on his ballot last week -- which, again, was totally reasonable at the time. Then he watched -- or, more likely, didn't watch -- Texas Tech lose to unranked Iowa and unranked Creighton, go 0-2 between last week's poll and this week's poll, and he responded by moving Texas Tech UP FOUR SPOTS on his ballot to No. 7!
HE MOVED TEXAS TECH UP TO NO. 7 AFTER AN 0-2 WEEK!
This is an all-timer for my #PollAttacks column that draws life from nonsensical ballots each Monday. I mean, to submit a ballot like that you have to just be totally careless, either in approach or execution, because, obviously, there's no way to rationalize it based on what's happened over the past week.
As I've said and written many times, when I started this #PollAttacks column I assumed, after a while, AP voters would get tired of having their carelessness highlighted in this way. So I figured they'd start showing a little effort and intelligence, at which point I'd have nothing to write about, and then I'd spend my Mondays doing something else. I imagined afternoon naps being nice. I was looking forward to them.
Here we are, all these years later, and it's still the same-old, same-old. Nearly every week, within minutes, I find something totally inexplicable. And this week it only took me like 45 seconds.
As for Texas Tech, I won't be surprised if Beard gets things turned around; In fact, I'm assuming he will. And, if he does, and when the body of work supports doing so, moving the Red Raiders back into the AP Top 25 poll will be sensible. But what's not sensible is moving the Red Raiders up four spots to No. 7 on a ballot after they just went 0-2 with both losses coming to unranked opponents. That's ridiculous. And by ridiculous, I mean insane. And by insane, I mean super-duper embarrassing.