Texas Tech men’s basketball preview

Red Raider Nation

LUBBOCK, Texas — The Texas Tech men’s basketball season tips off Tuesday night against Eastern Illinois. After a run to the NCAA championship game last season, Chris Beard’s bunch is looking to follow that up with another strong campaign.

However, a lot of last year’s players are gone and fresh faces have taken their place.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2019-20 Red Raiders.

Who’s gone?

G Jarrett Culver, G Matt Mooney, F Tariq Owens, G Brandone Francis, F Deshawn Corprew, F Malik Ondigo, G Parker Hicks, F Khavon Moore, G Andrew Sorrells, C Norense Odiase, F Josh Mballa.

Jarrett Culver has moved on from Texas Tech

Texas Tech lost a whopping 11 players from last year’s Final Four roster. The main departures are Culver, Mooney, Owens and Odiase; all four started on last year’s team.

Culver was the lead scorer and offensive catalyst. Mooney provided valuable shooting in clutch situations. Odiase and Owens chipped in with valuable defense and rebounding.

Beyond them, Texas Tech also lost valuable bench pieces. Francis was a key piece on the team while some of the younger players who were expected to step up wound up transferring. Beard has lots of vacancies to fill.

Who’s back?

#25 Junior guard Davide Moretti

Junior Davide Moretti is a key returning piece

Last season:
– 11.5 points per game (PPG)
– 2.1 rebounds per game (RPG)
– 2.4 assists per game (APG)
– 45.9 3-point percentage (3pt%)

The only returning starter from last year’s team, Moretti should be in for a big year as one of the team’s leaders.

#0 Sophomore guard Kyler Edwards

Last season:
– 5.5 PPG
– 2.2 RPG
– 1.1 APG
– 44.9 3pt%

Beard trusted Edwards with important March Madness minutes last season. This year, he’ll have a bigger role.

#24 Sophomore guard Avery Benson

Last season:
– 0.6 PPG
– 0.6 RPG
– 0.3 APG

A walk-on, Benson doesn’t figure to get major minutes.

#12 Redshirt freshman guard Andrei Savrasov

After redshirting last season, Savrasov is good to go.

#15 Redshirt freshman guard Kevin McCullar

McCullar dealt with some injuries in the offseason. His status is still uncertain.

Who’s new?

#3 Freshman guard Jahmi’us Ramsey

Freshman Jahmi’us Ramsey

Rated a 5-star recruit by Rivals.com, Ramsey is the first ever 5-star recruit to choose Texas Tech. He figures to have a big role on this year’s squad.

#44 Senior guard Chris Clarke

Clarke was a contributor for Virginia Tech for three seasons before transferring. He averaged 8.2 points per game his last season on the court.

#22 Senior forward TJ Holyfield

Transfer senior Chris Clarke

Holyfield transferred to Texas Tech after three seasons at Stephen F. Austin. In 2017-18, he averaged 12.9 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

#5 Sophomore guard Joel Ntambwe

Ntambwe transferred to Texas Tech after one season at UNLV. He is still waiting to see if the NCAA will declare him eligible to play this season.

#1 Freshman guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

A freshman guard from Chicago, Shannon was rated as the No. 92 prospect in the nation by ESPN.

#2 Freshman guard Clarence Nadolny

Freshman guard Terrence Shannon Jr.

Nadolny originally hails from France. He played high school ball in Pennsylvania.

#10 Freshman forward Tyreek Smith

Smith will begin the season with an injury.

#54 Freshman center Russell Tchewa

Tchewa grew up in Cameroon and played prep basketball in Italy. He is the only listed center on Texas Tech’s roster.

Key games

November 5 vs. Eastern Illinois at United Supermarkets Arena

The opening game of the season is always one of the more exciting ones. On Tuesday night, Red Raider fans will get their first look at how the new additions fit in with the team.

December 10 vs. Louisville at Madison Square Garden

Texas Tech will take on Louisville at the world’s most famous arena in a titanic clash. The Cardinals are currently the No. 5 team in the nation. This match-up should give both teams a sense of how they stack up before beginning conference play.

January 7 vs. Baylor at United Supermarkets Arena

The Red Raiders will have their first major Big 12 test hosting Baylor, which is currently ranked No. 16. The Bears have been picked to finish as high as second in the Big 12 by ESPN.

January 25 vs. Kentucky at United Supermarkets Arena

Texas Tech drew the SEC’s powerhouse in this year’s Big 12-SEC challenge. Armed with future NBA Draft picks, Kentucky could be a top five team in the nation when it comes to Lubbock. Depending on how both teams are playing, this could easily be one of the biggest match-ups to ever come to the United Supermarkets Arena.

February 1 vs. Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse

The Red Raiders will head into one of the NCAA’s most hostile atmospheres in a game that could feature the two best teams in the Big 12. A win on the road here would go a long way towards the Red Raiders securing a second straight Big 12 title.

March 7 vs. Kansas at United Supermarkets Arena

Texas Tech’s final regular season game of the year is against those same Jayhawks. United Supermarkets Arena will be fired up for this conference clash. Once again, this match-up could potentially have major Big 12 title implications.

Joseph Marcades contributed to this report.

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