LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas Tech basketball season tips off Wednesday when the No. 14 Red Raiders host Northwestern State.
Last season, Texas Tech went 18-13 overall and 9-9 in Big 12 play. The Red Raiders were predicted by most to make the NCAA Tournament before the season was shut down due to COVID-19.
Chris Beard overhauled his roster in the offseason, and the Red Raiders should be quite interesting to follow in 2020-21.
Here’s what you should know about the team before the games begin.
While some major talent from last year’s team went out the door, Beard replenished his roster through recruiting and the transfer portla.
The team’s two leading scorers, Jahmi’us Ramsey and Davide Moretti, finished their college careers early to turn professional. Key big man T.J. Holyfield graduated, as well as leading rebounder and assist man Chris Clarke.
However, help is on the way. Three big-time transfers came to Texas Tech: G Mac McClung (Georgetown), G Jamarius Burton (Wichita State) and F Marcus Santos-Silva (VCU). All three are eligible to play immediately.
McClung is a score-first guard whose highlight tapes went viral in high school for his high-flying dunks. While he isn’t as much of a dunker at the college level, McClung averaged 15.7 points per game for the Hoyas and showed the ability to make tough shots.
Related Story: McClung at Texas Tech will make for a fascinating experiment
Burton is a hard-nosed two-way guard who specializes in mid-range jumpers and on-ball defense. He figures to be a snug fit in Chris Beard’s system on both ends.
In Santos-Silva, Texas Tech gets an inside presence that it lacked last season. He averaged 12.8 points and 8.9 rebounds per game for the Rams, and will contribute with high-percentage looks around the rim and rebounding.
Incoming freshmen Chibuzo Agbo, Micah Peavy and Nimari Burnett are very talented and should get minutes immediately. All three were rated four-star prospects by 247Sports, and figure to get the opportunity to contribute on the wing.
Texas Tech will also get added help from within at the forward spot. UNLV transfer Joel Ntambwe is ready to go after redshirting last season, and Tyreek Smith will see the court after missing last season with an injury.
As far as returners from last year’s lineup, starters Kyler Edwards and Terrence Shannon Jr. will both be back. Look out for Shannon to make a leap; he has NBA-level size and athleticism for his position and can really become a force if he improves his jumpshot and feel.
Kevin McCullar, Clarence Nadolny, Avery Benson and Vladislav Goldin round out the roster.
No. 0 G Mac McClung (Junior transfer from Georgetown)
No. 1 G Terrence Shannon Jr. (Sophomore)
No. 2 G Jamarius Burton (Junior transfer from Wichita State)
No. 3 G Clarence Nadolny (Sophomore)
No. 5 G Micah Peavy (Freshman)
No. 10 F Tyreek Smith (Redshirt freshman)
No. 11 G Kyler Edwards (Junior)
No. 14 F Marcus Santos-Silva (Senior transfer from VCU)
No. 15 G Kevin McCullar (Redshirt sophomore)
No. 21 G Avery Benson (Redshirt junior)
No. 23 G Chibuzo Agbo (Freshman)
No. 24 F Joel Ntambwe (Redshirt sophomore transfer from UNLV)
No. 25 G Nimari Burnett (Freshman)
No. 50 F Vladislav Goldin (Freshman)
Because of COVID-19, college basketball teams are playing a condensed out-of-conference slate. Still, Texas Tech has some interesting games on its schedule.
The Red Raiders play No. 17 Houston on November 29 in Fort Worth in what should be an interesting early-season test. The Cougars are well-coached every year under Kelvin Sampson and returned significant talent from last year’s team, which finished the season ranked No. 22.
Texas Tech’s most interesting home out-of-conference matchup is on December 3 when St. John’s comes to United Supermarkets Arena.
The Red Raiders open Big 12 play with a bang, as No. 6 Kansas comes to Lubbock on December 17. TTU makes a return trip to Lawrence on February 20.
No. 2 Baylor visits Texas Tech on January 16. Tech will play at Waco on February 13. The other ranked team in the Big 12 is No. 15 West Virginia, who plays TTU on January 25 and February 9.
Take a look at Texas Tech’s full schedule HERE.
The Red Raiders were picked to finish 4th in the Big 12 in the conference’s preseason poll, behind Baylor, Kansas and West Virginia.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi released his 2021 March Madness bracket projection, and he had Texas Tech as a No. 4 seed, facing Murray State.
Baylor and Kansas till be tough to topple at the top of the Big 12, but Texas Tech has a shot at winning the conference if its talent gels. With a loaded roster, the Red Raiders should make March Madness for the third time in four tries (there was no tournament in 2020) under Chris Beard.