With Grant McCasland taking over, the Texas Tech Red Raiders look to get back to their winning ways and into the NCAA Tournament.
As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.
Last year was as bad as it could be for the Red Raiders. First, their coveted transfer addition Fardaws Aimaq missed the first half of the season then entered the transfer portal. He’d eventually return, but that had an impact on the team’s chemistry. Then they started conference play 0-8, basically eliminating them from an NCAA Tournament opportunity despite a late push. Finally, head coach Mark Adams resigned during the Big 12 tournament after making racially insensitive comments to one the players.
For a team that has built themselves up so well to a point where they made a national championship half a decade ago, this was a big step back. However, they made all the right steps this offseason, starting with the hiring of Grant McCasland. McCasland is a winner, most recently leading the University of North Texas to an NIT championship and also leading them to their first tournament win in school history in 2020-2021. He does a great job of building a culture and makes players want to play for him. With the upgrade in resources, McCasland can make them a special program quickly.
He’ll have to do it with a completely new roster, as the top three scorers from last season and five of the top six have either graduated or transferred. Luckily, they did a good job in the portal, bringing in quality Power 6 transfers, including Devan Cambridge and Warren Washington from Arizona State. Chemistry may be an issue early on, but by conference play, this team should have the tools to succeed.
Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.
Head coach: Grant McCasland (8th season, 1st at Texas Tech)
2022-23 record: 16-16 (5-13)
2023 postseason finish: No postseason
Notable departures: Kevin Obanor (Graduated), De’Vion Harmon (Graduated), Jalon Tyson (Transferred to Cal), Daniel Batcho (Transferred to Louisiana Tech), Fardaws Aimaq (Transferred to Cal), Elijah Fisher (Transferred to DePaul)
Notable non-conference games: Bad Boy Mowers Battle 4 Atlantis (November 22nd-24th), @Butler (November 30), Vanderbilt (December 16)
PG: Pop Isaacs (6-2, 170, So.)
2022-2023 stats: 11.5 PPG, 2.0 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.1 SPG, 89.6 FT%
SG: Joe Toussaint (6-0, 190, Sr.)
2022-2023 stats: 9.4 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 2.6 APG, 0.9 SPG, 78.7 FT% (West Virginia)
SF: Devan Cambridge (6-6, 215, Sr.)
2022-2023 stats: 9.8 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 50.4 FG% (Arizona State)
PF: KyeRon Lindsay (6-8, 205, So.)
2022-2023 stats: 6.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.9 SPG, 54.2 FG% (Georgia)
C: Warren Washington (7-0, 235, Sr.)
2022-2023 stats: 9.2 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.8 BPG, 56.3 FG% (Arizona State)
6: Darrion Williams (6-6, 210, So.)
2022-2023 stats: 7.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 35.7 3P% (Nevada)
7: Chance McMillan (6-3, 185, Jr.)
2022-2023 stats: 10.9 PPG, 3,1 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 48.5 FG% (Grand Canyon)
8: Robert Jennings (6-7, 225, So.)
2022-2023 stats: 2.7 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 0.1 APG
9: Lamar Washington (6-4, 205, So.)
2022-2023 stats: 3.4 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.9 SPG, 73.3 FT%
10: Kerwin Walton (6-5, 200, Sr.)
2022-2023 stats: 3.6 PPG, 0.9 RPG, 0.4 APG
Texas Tech Red Raiders MVP: Pop Isaacs
Isaacs had a solid freshman campaign, averaging over 10 points for the team. Those 11 points were as far from being efficient as they can, but that’s common with freshmen. Now, with a year of development and the responsibility growing in terms of his level of production, he should step up and is a sneaky All-Big 12 potential player.
He started all but one game last season as a freshman, so he already has that experience. Plus, he’ll be surrounded by several other talented guards, something that will only help him. All he needs to do is be a smarter player. He took a LOT of bad shots last season, and when the team is struggling and you’re a freshman, you get a pass. However, if he’s doing the same this year that can be a big problem. If you’re looking for a fun guy to root for Pop is your guy.
Texas Tech Red Raiders’ make-or-break player: Kyeron Lindsay
As a former fringe top 100 recruit, Georgia fans were excited at the potential of Lindsay. They had a reason, as he averaged 6.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG in just 20 minutes of action per game. However, they didn’t get to see any more after December 18th, when Lindsay announced he would be entering the portal, ending his freshman season.
While the sample size is small, he looked very solid for Georgia, and with a potential starting job and increased minutes, he could look even better. Texas Tech needs him too, as he’s the second-tallest player on the team besides Warren Washington. His rebounding is what separates him, as he has a great nose for the ball.
Texas Tech will ask a lot of him early on, but can he handle it? The hope is yes, but time will tell. If he can become a 9 PPG and 7 RPG player, Texas Tech will be set in the frontcourt. However, if he can’t take that step, Texas Tech will have a really tough job matching up, which could be the difference between wins and losses.
Key analytic: Tempo
Last year, Texas Tech had the 66th-highest tempo in the country. That will change, as their new head coach’s team was 363rd last year, dead last in the country. McCasland has always succeeded in slowing the game down and winning the game with hard-nosed defense, but can he do this with his new roster? So, will Texas Tech stick to their higher-paced offense or will they change their ways and slow the game down? This will be interesting to monitor early on. Don’t be surprised if they start slow, then change their style after the Battle 4 Atlantis if they have a rough time there.
Projected conference finish: 10th in the Big 12
Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 32