Very few people expected #11 Texas Tech would emerge as one of the best teams in the country, let alone in the Big 12, but sophomore shooting guard Jarrett Culver blossomed into a potential lottery pick to lead the Red Raiders to a potential #3 seed in the upcoming March Madness tournament.

Texas Tech Jarrett Culver
Sophomore guard Jarrett Culver hits a three-pointer to delight the home crowd at United Supermarkets Arena in Lubbock, Texas. (Image: Nicole Sweet/USA Today Sports)

The Big 12 has three teams in the Top 15 this season. Texas Tech is tied for first place in the Big 12 with #16 Kansas State. Both teams have an 11-4 conference record. Kansas is ranked #15 in the nation, but the Jayhawks have a 10-5 in the Big 12.

According to ESPN’s Bracketology, six teams from the Big 12 are estimated to play in March Madness. Those teams include Texas Tech, Kansas State, Kansas, Baylor, Iowa State, and Texas.

Texas Tech shocked pretty much everyone this season because they lost four starters from last year including Zhaire Smith, who got drafted in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. Tech went 27-10 last season and with the #3 seed, they went all the way to the Elite Eight. The Red Raiders lost to the eventual champion Villanova in the quarterfinals.

Culver World

Get familiar with the name Jarrett Culver. He’s the best player in the country that you don’t know too much about. He can play on both ends of the court. NBA scouts project Culver as a potential lottery pick along with Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett from Duke.

Culver, a six-foot-five guard, is a homegrown product from Lubbock. Culver leads Texas Tech in scoring with 18.0 points per game and in assists with 3.6 per game. As a freshman last season, Culver averaged 11.2 points and shot 45.5 percent from the floor. This year, Culver stepped up to fill the scoring void.

In a loss against Duke’s group of super-frosh, Culver more than held his own during a 25-point performance. Last week, he torched Kansas for 26 points and would have scored more if they didn’t take him out early in the 29-point blowout.

Davide Moretti, a 6-foot-2 guard, is a second-year player from Bologna, Italy. He’s second on the team in scoring with 11.2 points per game. Moretti hits 45.6 percent of his three-point shots and shoots and efficient 49.2 percent from the floor overall.

Big D in Lubbock

Texas Tech creates a nightmare for opposing teams. Their defense is second-best in the country allowing only 58.1 points per game.

Tech hit a huge speedbump at the end of January when they lost three-games in a row. They won eight out of their last night games since then with a sole loss at Kansas. The Red Raiders recently avenged the KU loss with a blowout victory of their own.

Tech held opponent to 62 or fewer points in 22 games this season. They held opponents to 50 points or fewer on 8 separate occasions.

On Deck: TCU, Texas, and Iowa State

Texas Tech has two more games in Texas before they end the season in Ames, Iowa. Tech heads to Dallas this weekend to play TCU (18-10) who are only 6-9 in the Big 12. Next week, Tech hosts their final home game of the season against Texas (15-13). The final game of the season is at Iowa State (20-8) next weekend.

While the Big 12 is one of the deeper conferences in the country, do not overlook mid-major schools such as Nevada, Houston, and Murray State. There are a couple of small schools from the South worth mentioning such as sharp-shooting Wofford, and Lipscomb and Liberty from the ASun. Out West, there are a handful of other small schools worth checking out including the Montana Grizzlies, Utah State Aggies, New Mexico State Aggies, and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits.

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