Texas Tech men’s basketball, in just its second year under coach Chris Beard, is one win away from its first trip to the Elite Eight in program history — and it has Red Raiders fans the most enthusiastic they’ve been in quite some time.
But the love for the Red Raiders’ coach goes beyond Lubbock, Texas. From his obsession with Whataburger to developing a contending team far quicker than many would have expected, Beard has become a national sensation as Texas Tech gets set for Purdue on Friday night in Boston for the Sweet Sixteen.
So what’s the secret behind Beard’s success in ultra-competitive Big 12 Conference? According to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, it’s all about the mental game — one that is full of urgency every time his team hits the court.
Beard told Borzello that he has always carried the same approach in his entire coaching career — that “you’ve got one shot,” so you better make the most of every chance you get to achieve greatness.
“You’ve got one shot, let’s roll. Because eventually that’s what our sport comes to. When you get to March, you’ve got one shot. The quicker you can get that mindset, it gets you ready for those moments.”
By Beard’s standards, his “one shot” with Texas Tech is going quite well. The Red Raiders recorded their first ever win at the famed Allen Fieldhouse — home of the Kansas Jayhawks — in January before toppling a top-5 West Virginia team at home later in the month. Senior guard Keenan Evans has been dominant in crunch time for Texas Tech, while Jarrett Culver and Zhaire Smith have made for the highest-scoring duo of freshmen in program history.
And above all else — the dream of a national championship is more than alive and well for the Red Raiders, even if there may be some tough competition still along the way to San Antonio, Texas. Beard has made Texas Tech a place where basketball players want to chase their dreams — and that’s about as much as one can ask for, long-term.
Texas Tech faces 2-seed Purdue, who will likely be without star center Isaac Haas, Friday night at TD Garden in Boston, Mass. The Red Raiders are eyeing a potential Elite Eight matchup with conference-foe West Virginia should both teams win their respective contests in the Sweet Sixteen within the East Regional.
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