Texas Tech is off to its best start in 80 years, but its players also know there’s a lot of basketball left to be played.
Coming off their biggest win of the season, the 23rd-ranked Red Raiders look to remain perfect while trying to avoid a second straight loss to host TCU on Tuesday night.
After finishing 14-19 and winning three games in the Big 12 last season, Texas Tech is 8-0 for the first time since opening 12-0 in 1929-30.
The Red Raiders are also back in the Top 25 for the first time since the final poll of 2004-05, after a wild 99-92 overtime home victory over then-No. 12 Washington on Thursday.
That victory and the overall strong start has the Red Raiders playing with plenty of confidence, but grounded enough to know it’s still early in the season. Texas Tech has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2007.
“I don’t want to start praising yet,” said junior John Roberson, who had a season-high 25 points against the Huskies. “For us to come along this quickly, I’m shocked, to be honest. I’m just going to keep telling them, ‘Don’t be satisfied.”’
The Red Raiders need to remember that Tuesday as they try to avenge an 85-80 home loss to TCU on Jan. 6.
Mike Singletary had 22 points and Nick Okorie added 13 in that contest for the Red Raiders, who shot 42.1 percent and committed 16 turnovers to allow the Horned Frogs to snap a three-game losing streak in the series.
Singletary (13.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game), Roberson (12.6 ppg, 5.1 assists per game) and Okorie (8.6 ppg) are the top returning scorers from last season’s team that won just four games after winning 10 of its first 14.
Roberson, averaging 16.5 points and 6.3 assists in his last four games, turned a steal into a layup with 44 seconds remaining to seal the win over Washington. Singletary finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds as the Red Raiders shot 47.8 percent.
“(Beating Washington) means a lot to us,” said Texas Tech coach Pat Knight, whose team is shooting 47.5 percent and averaging 78.1 points per game. “This gets us ready for the rest of the non-conference, but it really prepares us for the Big 12.”
While the Red Raiders have played well offensively, they’ve shown improvement on the defensive end, allowing 62.9 points per contest—down from 75.9 through the first eight games last season.
The Red Raiders will likely need to be at their defensive best against TCU (5-3), averaging 80.3 points while going 3-1 at home.
Edvinas Ruzgas had 22 points while Ronnie “Tuffy” Moss and Zvonko Buljan each added 14 in the Horned Frogs’ 60-53 win at SMU on Wednesday.
Moss is averaging a team-leading 18.5 points, but has 27 total on 8-of-25 shooting in his last two contests.
Ruzgas, meanwhile, is averaging 15.1 points this season and had 24 versus the Red Raiders in January.
TCU is looking to avoid a third straight loss to a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 14 Air Force 71-66 on Feb. 24, 2007.