Things aren't going so great for the Texas Tech men's basketball team. Pat Knight's senior-laden squad, thought to be a contender for an NCAA Tournament at the beginning of the season, has largely underachieved and now sits three games under .500. Most notably, the squad has started Big 12 Conference play 0-4, worse than last year's 1-3 conference start.
That record has led to other problems, however, including fan frustration, a possible decline in confidence for the Red Raiders themselves and poor attendance numbers at the United Spirit Arena.
In a media availability Thursday that often times focused on "doom and gloom," Knight was asked what he had to say to anyone that has given up on his 2010-11 team.
"That's their problem," Knight replied. "I don't blame them but that's their problem. If you're that type of fan, you're not a real fan. It's the guys that are behind us through the good and the bad -- just like a marriage -- you take the good and bad.
"I don't care. I have no concern about the fans. Come to the game if you want, if you don't that's your problem. I'm here for my kids. It's terrible people are going to be that way. These kids aren't losing on purpose. You should support Texas Tech because it says it on their jersey not because of their won-loss record because they're giving everything they've got. What more do you want from them? That's just pathetic... you've got to support these kids."
And Knight continued.
"To me, that really upsets me because I see teams around the country having down years and they still pack the stands because they love basketball and love their university," he said. "So if you're that type of fan we don't need you."
It was clear later in the media availability that Knight had more to say about the subject when a question arose regarding what he was telling his player about the season still being salvageable.
"You take it one game at a time," he said. "You just have to keep passionate. You know people want to bring up negative things like fans this, fans that. Shoot, the only way these guys are going to quit is death and it's the only way I'm going to quit. Death. So the people who keep on trying to be negative, but that's just part of it. These guys are going to keep fighting until the end. Say we lose all the rest of them, they're going to try to win the last one and that's how we're going to be as coaches."
Then without further prompting, Knight's answer got bigger.
"You find out who your friends are, you find out who the true fans are and who supports you when you go through times like this," Knight said. "But that's part of it, you can't get frustrated for it. You know, the problem is people have never tried to get to know me. Nobody.
"It's always been Bob Knight's son this, Bob Knight's son that, even people at the school. I grew up with my last name Knight playing high school basketball in Indiana, went to Indiana and played with my last name Knight. This stuff doesn't bother me. I get paid for this. You want to talk about going through some B.S., go through what I went through as a high school and college player. You didn't get paid for that. So this stuff doesn't bother me. I've been through a lot worse. So people can say what they want and bring it up, it's not going to stop me from trying to do my job to win games."
* The interview with Knight preceded practice but Knight said he expected David Tairu to practice Thursday. Tairu sat out all but 30 seconds of the Oklahoma game after an injury in practice Monday.