LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Texas Tech Red Raiders could easily have a chip on their shoulder when they face off against the Duke Blue Devils in New York on Thursday.
The undefeated Red Raiders will go into their Madison Square Garden matchup ranked No. 12 in the AP Top 25 College Basketball poll.
That would be an impressive ranking if it wasn’t for the fact the Red Raiders were one seed higher going into last week, a week that saw them dominate in two home wins.
Last Wednesday the Red Raiders topped Northwestern (Louisiana) State by 35 points. On Saturday they beat the Abilene Christian Wildcats by 34 points in their final throwback game at the Lubbock Municipal Coliseum, their former home.
Jarrett Culver, who had 30 points Saturday, was named the Big 12 player of the week for his work in both games.
The last time Texas Tech was 10-0, 1930, they were known as the Matadors and courts were still called cages.
Coach Chris Beard is excited for the opportunity to show off the Red Raiders on a national stage. “If you ever want to win the fight, you got to become a part of the fight. Becoming a part of the fight in college basketball is playing teams like Duke that are a part of the fight every year."
Duke, the No. 2 team in the nation, earned five first-place votes this week.
Beard realizes facing such a storied team currently ranked as high as they arr is an amazing opportunity. "We’re appreciative of Duke playing this game. They don’t schedule everybody. It’s a compliment to our program that Coach K would play us. He doesn’t play anybody that isn’t good on a neutral floors, especially like Madison Square Garden.”
Beard says Thursday is a chance for the Red Raiders to gauge where they stand with the nation’s elite programs. “It’s a great challenge for us. We want to embrace the reality that it’s a special time.”
The Blue Devils and Red Raiders will tip off Thursday at 6 p.m. Lubbock time on ESPN 2.
AP Top 25:
1. Kansas (56 first-place votes)
2. Duke (5)
3. Tennessee (2)
4. Michigan (1)
5. Virginia (1)
9. North Carolina
10. Michigan State
11. Florida State
12. Texas Tech
13. Virginia Tech
15. Ohio State
17. Mississippi State
18. Arizona State