LUBBOCK - The Texas Tech men's basketball team has been picked seventh for the third consecutive year in the Big 12 Preseason Poll which was released on Friday and reflects the votes of the league's head coaches.
Oct 25, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Texas Tech Red Raiders head coach Chris Beard address the media during the Big 12 Basketball Media Day at the Sprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
The Red Raiders are coming off a season where they advanced to the program's first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance and are led by head coach Chris Beard who is entering his third season. The team, which finished last season ranked No. 6 in the nation, returns eight players from last year's group that won 27 games and went 11-7 in Big 12 play. Kansas received all nine possible first-place votes in the poll and was selected as the preseason pick to win the conference for the eighth straight season. Kansas State is picked second in the preseason ranking with one first-place vote, followed by West Virginia which is third and TCU and Texas who were tied for fourth with 54 total points. Iowa State is one spot ahead of the Red Raiders, while Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State round of the preseason poll.
The Big 12 led the nation in RPI four of the last five years. For the first time in Conference history, the Big 12 sent 90 percent of its men's basketball teams to postseason play in 2018 with seven in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship and two in the National Invitation Tournament. Kansas, Kansas State, Texas Tech and West Virginia advanced to the Sweet 16 while Kansas punched a ticket to the 2018 Final Four.
Texas Tech sophomore Jarrett Culver returns for his second season and was named a Preseason Big 12 Honorable Mention selection along with being named one of 20 players nationally who are the Jerry West Award Shooting Guard of the Year Award Watch List. Brandone Francis and Norense Odiase are back for their senior seniors, while graduate transfers Matt Mooney (South Dakota) and Tariq Owens (St. John's) bring experience as they join the Red Raiders for their final season. Andrew Sorrells is the lone junior on the roster, while sophomores Malik Ondigo, Parker Hicks, Avery Benson, Davide Moretti and Culver are back along with transfer Deshawn Corprew (South Plains College). A talented freshman class of Kyler Edwards, Khavon Moore and Josh Mballa join the program for their first season.
The Red Raiders are scheduled to host UTEP on Thursday, Nov. 1 in an exhibition game to benefit the National Compassion Foundation – Santa Fe Strong Fund before officially opening the 2018-19 season against Incarnate Word on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at the United Supermarkets Arena. The Big 12 will host its annual media day on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City - site of the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Men's Basketball Championship. Live coverage will be available at Big12Sports.com and on the Conference's official social media platforms.