Hopefully that loss on Saturday can be quickly forgotten as we look forward to the home stretch of the conference season. To help in the healing process, I reached out to Viva the Matadors, the SB Nation blog covering the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Their fearless leader was kind enough to answer a few questions before what should be tonight's sacrificial ceremony.
RCT: Since they got pasted in Allen Fieldhouse, the Red Raiders have actually put together a pretty good run, staying close in most games and even scoring some big upsets against Iowa State and Kansas State. Has this team outperformed your expectations since the last time they met KU?
VTM: Getting two wins against decent teams (albeit K-State was a bit undermanned) exceeded any expectations, so yeah, consider me tickled. After conference play started, it appeared to me that Texas Tech was on their way to maybe getting two wins in conference, thinking they would beat TCU at home (which decidedly did not happen) and some sort of upset. So yeah, my bar is very low, but those two wins were big.
RCT: As we have seen time and again in the Big 12, playing at home makes a big difference in performance. Is there anything cool or unusual about the team playing at United Spirit Arena?
VTM: I wish I could explain it, I think the team just shoots significantly better at home. I'd love to see the splits on that, but when Texas Tech wins, their guards are nailing shots from the outside and because this team doesn't make a ton of shots, being able to hit those three-pointers helps significantly. So other than just hot-shooting, there's nothing magical happening. Don't get me wrong, Texas Tech has won plenty of magical games at the United Supermarkets Arena (yeah, the name changed during the summer last year and is now United Supermarkets Arena), including upsets of Kansas, but the team is just shooting much better.
RCT: In our last Q&A, you mentioned how great the win against Baylor was last year. Was the game against Iowa State this year that kind of moment for the fanbase, or are they expecting more to come as this freshman class develops further?
VTM: Yes, that win against the un-dreamy Hoiberg led Cyclone was great for the fanbase. I think a lot of fans were thinking that going 0-fer in conference play was a reality, so that definitely buoyed the team and fans.
RCT: Texas Tech is likely going to be underdogs in each of their remaining games this season. Which game do you see as the most likely for the Red Raiders to pull the upset?
VTM: Maybe TCU, but the game is in Ft. Worth, but that's it. And that would be the slightest of upsets as TCU won in Lubbock, but they only have one conference win. I think TCU is better, but they also play in a high school gym this year as their home is being renovated. Maybe that will help. I have no idea as I'm obviously grasping for straws here. Texas Tech plays Texas in Austin, and other than those two teams, Texas Tech will play a ranked opponent the rest of the way so the odds aren't good for an upset other than TCU.
RCT: Other than the emergence of Kelly Oubre and the change of venue, it doesn't appear much is different from the last time these teams met. Are you expecting a similar result, or do the Red Raiders manage to keep it close at home? Final Prediction?
VTM: I think Kansas cleans up Texas Tech. Kansas really can't afford to slip with Oklahoma right on their heels and to lose this game would be devastating. I can't see Self letting this team just sleep-walk through this game. I think Texas Tech loses by 25 or so.
RCT: BONUS - Star Wars or Star Trek?
VTM: Easy and without a doubt, Star Wars.
So far we are unanimous with Star Wars. Hopefully I can find a fellow Trekkie in the Big 12 blogosphere soon.
A special thanks to our friends over at Viva the Matadors for taking some time to chat.