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Tubby Smith’s first big win in Texas Tech rebuild is a baffling loss for Baylor

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Texas Tech's Jordan Tolbert, center, is greeted by fans after a win over Baylor Jan 15, 2014

Tubby Smith has won more than 500 games and a national championship. It figures to be only a matter of time before he gets the Texas Tech program back on track competing at a high level with the rest of the Big 12 Conference.

The first big win in Smith's tenure in Lubbock came Wednesday night 82-72 over No. 12 Baylor.It broke a streak of 34 consecutive losses to ranked teams by the Red Raiders dating back to 2009.

Senior Jaye Crockett led Texas Tech with 19 points as one of five Red Raiders to score in double figures. It was also Smith's first Big 12 Conference win.

It's obviously a huge sign of progress for Smith and a rather large confidence boost for his players, but there is still a long way to go before this team gets back to competing at the level it was when Bob Knight was running the show.

It's not a huge surprise that the Red Raiders (9-8, 1-3) earned that first significant win against Baylor because Scott Drew's teams have proven capable of this kind of stumble in seasons past. It was almost tripped up back in December by Northwestern State

It was looking like the Bears (13-3, 1-2) might be able to avoid that sort of thing this season. Prior to losing to Texas Tech, the Bears' only losses were against Syracuse and Iowa State, both of which are top-10 teams at the moment.

But remember last season when Baylor lost to a sub-.500 Texas team at the end of the regular season, or College of Charleston and Northwestern earlier in the season?

It's fair to say Baylor can sometimes be guilty of playing to the level of its competition, which might have been the case Wednesday and is an ongoing challenge for Drew. Of course, he's not alone with that when it comes to coaching college basketball.

Of particular concern Wednesday was 7-footer Isaiah Austin who played 22 minutes but scored just four points with two rebounds. Senior Cory Jefferson, the Bears' leading scorer, had just eight points in 26 minutes.

Even the best teams are bound to stumble here and there. Bringing your best every night in a long season is tough to do and the Bears found out Wednesday how easy it is to fall into the loss column when that happens.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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