Jarrett Culver and Chris Beard

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Texas Freaking Tech

What Chris Beard has done at Texas Tech is absolutely absurd.

April 09, 2019 - 1:59 pm
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And if you think I’m only doing one take on one of the best national title games in years, you’re wrong. Especially when the team that didn’t win it all played the way Texas Tech did. A legendary season from them. A legendary tournament from them. And a legendary title game from them.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, what Chris Beard has done at Texas Tech is absolutely absurd. Truly ridiculous. Before he got there, it would’ve ranked as one of the toughest Power 5 programs to recruit to and win at. And in three seasons, he has an elite eight, a national championship runner-up, and he broke the Jayhawks stranglehold on Big 12 titles.

And he did all of that this year after losing an All-American and a first round pick. Normally, a program like Texas Tech goes to the Elite Eight and then loses two elite players and takes a step back. This Texas Tech team did that and then took a step forward.

And they did it because they have an elite coach and an elite identity. They lock you up defensively, they fight and grind for everything, and they know how to win. They have guys on that roster who had never won before, and yet they play like they know how to win. 

I’m talking about guys like Jarrett Culver, who’s got a bright future in the NBA. And guys like Matt Mooney who was clutch as hell. Or Tariq Owens who somehow came out of a walking boot to ball out. And Brandone Francis who was legend last night.  

Again, this is a big Chris Beard house, but I’m not saying that because we go all the way back to a Final Four elevator decades ago. I’m saying this because what he’s done at Texas Tech is so absurdly impressive.

Texas Tech was playing in the national title game. And they belonged. Not only did they belong, they came as close as you can come to winning it, without actually winning it.

How close? They had a three point lead with less than fifteen seconds left in regulation. 

How close? They were a zoomed-in replay with just over a minute left in overtime away from keeping the fight going. Because it was with just over a minute left, down by two, that this happened.

 

It was initially ruled Texas Tech ball. The Red Raiders could’ve tied it or taken the lead. But instead, after an extensive replay, it was ruled that the ball grazed Davide Moretti and it was now Virginia ball. Never mind that in the same replay, Kyle Guy clearly fouls Moretti. And that’s the tricky and awkward thing.

Because the call on the floor was overturned by something that could only be seen on replay, but the other insanely obvious thing on replay, Guy fouling Moretti, could not be called on replay.

That’s the limit of replay at the moment. Because while it solves one problem, it creates another. And it looks really weird when you go full on “zoom and enhance” frame-by-frame to determine that Moretti touched the ball, but can’t address the fact that Guy contacted Moretti.

As Moretti said afterwards: “They didn’t call the foul. I wasn’t looking for the foul. I was looking for the possession because the guy literally took the ball from my hands and put it out of bounds. I was pretty confident the ball was [ours], but they overturned it. I guess I was wrong.”

I guess so. Sort of. Because yeah, the ball did touch him last, but Guy also fouled him. And Tech lost the ball and didn’t get the ball. Jammed twice. And Texas Tech, instead of having a chance to tie or take the lead, watched Virginia pull away and ice the game.

Don’t get it twisted, Texas Tech got jobbed on that play, but they aren’t blaming it. As Moretti said: “We are a no-excuse program. We lost the game in other aspects of the game.”

That’s the truth. They are a no-excuse program. I’d expect nothing different from a Chris Beard team. Speaking of Beard, how about the way he conducted himself in his postgame interview.

Just suffered a gutting loss and he’s hyping Virginia and thanking his own guys. Nothing is guaranteed in college sports. And Texas Tech is likely going to lose a lot of talent from this year’s team, but if you told me that they were right back in the Final Four again next year, I would not be shocked. That’s how good Chris Beard is. He’ll take you from the hotels where they serve cereal in those tiny paper boxes or where they jam a bunch of stale Frosted Flakes in a big trough to the kind of hotels where you’re eating fresh Lucky Charms out of huge bowls with big spoons.  

And that’s why programs will be lining up to try to get him, because I don’t care who you are or where your school is, if you have Chris Beard, you have a chance. In fact, you have much more than a chance.