Texas Tech made a Final Four run last season on the strength of an elite defense and a lottery pick in Jarrett Culver.
Culver is gone, as are three of the other top five scorers from last year’s team that lost to Virginia in the national championship.
But defense still dominates for Chris Beard’s squad, a lesson No. 1 Louisville learned the hard way Tuesday in a stunning 70-57 loss to the unranked Red Raiders at Madison Square Garden.
Texas Tech logged the upset as leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey watched from the bench with a hamstring injury. It broke a three-game losing streak in the process.
Loss marks AP poll history for No. 1 teams
The loss marks the fourth this season for a top-ranked team and likely means college basketball will see a fifth change on the top line when the seventh AP poll of the season comes out next week.
It also marks the first time four No. 1 teams in the AP poll have lost before January. Michigan State, Kentucky and Duke have also fallen off the top line.
Texas Tech celebrated accordingly in the locker room.
Texas Tech post-game celebration. Insanity. pic.twitter.com/Wbn8VARpdT
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) December 11, 2019
Defense still dominates in Lubbock
Louisville jumped out to an early 12-5 lead. But Texas Tech leaned on its defense, responding with an 11-0 run that saw the Cardinals held scoreless for more than six minutes.
From there, the Red Raiders fought back every Louisville rally attempt as good looks at the basket for the Cardinals were few and far between.
A Louisville team that entered Tuesday night shooting 49.6 from the field and 39.1 percent from 3-point distance managed to hit just 34 percent of its field goals and 3-of-17 3-point attempts (17.6 percent) against an active Red Raiders defense.
The Cardinals also turned the ball over 19 times after averaging 12.4 per game in their 9-0 start.
New roster from last year’s Final Four team
Davide Moretti, one of only three players to return from last year’s national finalist, led Texas Tech with 18 points while Virginia Tech transfer Chris Clarke tallied seven points, 12 rebounds, six assists and a steal.
Ramsey, a freshman who averages 17.3 points and six rebounds, smiled from the bench as his Red Raiders won their first game since he suffered his hamstring injury in a loss to Iowa.
With the loss, Louisville falls to 9-1 and will likely tumble in next week’s polls. Texas Tech improves to 6-3 and could see a return to the Top 25 after falling out amid a three-game losing streak.
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