UTEP Fans Beware, This Could be Texas Tech’s Year
It has been 53 years since Texas Western won arguably the most important game in college basketball history by defeating Kentucky 72-65 to win the NCAA Tournament on March 19, 1966. To this day the Miners have bragging rights as the only team in the great state of Texas to have won a national championship in men's basketball, that however, could change this year.
Consider this, besides UTEP, Texas, Houston, Baylor, and SMU, have all played in the Final Four but failed to win it all in the past. Texas Tech will be making their first Final Four appearance as they take on Michigan State in the National Semifinal on Saturday in Minneapolis. Call me crazy, as I've been called worse, but the Red Raiders have a legitimate shot of becoming the second team from Texas to win a national championship.
Texas Tech, a program that has continuously progressed every year since Coach Beard's tenure began, has endured quite an impressive run to Minneapolis in the tournament having played the highest seeded team possible in each round, winning each contest in a convincing manner and knocking off Gonzaga, which was the cherry on top. So much for the Big 12 being down this year, as they have yet another representative in the Final Four.
From a defensive standpoint, this team is relentless, as was the case in their victories over Michigan and Gonzaga as they held the top scoring offensive team in the country to just 69 points, when the Zags averaged 89 ppg this season. The Red Raiders' defense, disciplined play, and ability to shut down any team in the country is what makes them so dangerous. They also have one of the top coaches at the helm in Chris Beard as well. Let's face it, this is also a team on an emotional high as they had a 14 percent chance of making the Final Four when the season began, and have nothing to lose.
Will they actually win the national championship though? I feel that there is a real chance of this happening and realize that this may upset a lot of UTEP fans who want to hold on to 1966 and always be known as the only team from Texas to accomplish this tremendous feat. I am a proud graduate of UTEP and quite frankly am fine with another team from Texas winning it all. It is bound to happen someday. Don't be bitter Miner fans if Texas Tech is able to accomplish this incredible goal, instead, you should embrace the fact that UTEP has won a championship, something that so many great schools would have liked to accomplished, but simply can't.
Winning a national championship in college basketball is without question one of the most difficult things to do in all of sports, and if Texas Tech, another team from a relatively small town in Texas can pull it off, good for them.