In just his second season in Lubbock, Chris Beard has Texas Tech in the Sweet 16.
After missing the NCAA Tournament entirely in Beard’s debut season, the 26-win Red Raiders are enjoying an eight-win improvement over last season thus far, and of course, the school’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2005.
Such an effort earned Beard Big 12 Co-Coach of the Year honors, alongside Kansas’ Bill Self, and he’s received plenty of praise throughout a season in which Texas Tech became a mainstay in the top 10. However, in an interview with NCAA analyst Andy Katz, Beard credited former Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith for laying the foundation.
“The foundation of everything was coach Tubby Smith’s recruiting class.” Beard said. “We inherited a strong culture with Justin Gray, Zach Smith, Keenan Evans and Norense Odiase.”
Gray, Smith, Evans and Odiase were each member’s of Smith’s seven-man 2014 class, and have served as senior leaders for Texas Tech this season.
“I always give Tubby credit. When you inherit somebody’s program, you learn a lot about them,” Beard added. “I could write a book about Tubby.”
In three seasons in Lubbock, Smith guided the Red Raiders to a 46-50 record. Although the on-court didn’t come at the level expected, as Beard stated, he helped put many of the pieces in place for a Texas Tech team that’s now just one win away from the first Eight Eight appearance in school history.
Beard’s full interview with Katz can be seen below:
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 21, 2018
3-seeded Texas Tech will meet 2-seeded Purdue in the Sweet 16 on Friday at 9:57 p.m. ET on TBS.
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