Takeaways: Beard previews DePaul, discusses weekend in Vegas and more
“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."
After dropping both matchups in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Red Raider basketball team find themselves on the other end of the spectrum in the votes-counted region of the AP Poll.
Basically, the Red Raiders are no longer ranked after being No. 12 heading into the Vegas Invitational.
Now at 5-2 on the year, Texas Tech heads back on the road to Chicago this Wednesday for a meeting with the DePaul Blue Demons (8-0).
Chris Beard talked to the media Monday afternoon before the team’s upcoming game.
What Beard saw on the tape
Beard talked about the ability of good teams to learn and grow after wins and certainly after losses. After dropping both games at Orleans Arena to the Iowa Hawkeyes and Creighton Blue Jays, Beard said the trip to Vegas was great because they got to play two good teams.
“Two teams that’ll be in the NCAA tournament in my opinion,” Beard said. “That are right there in the mix. Really good Big 10 team and a really good Big East team. I feel like we have enough talent, feel like we did enough good things to deserve victory. What we got to do is find consistency and try to eliminate mistakes.”
Beard talked about how victory will favor the more aggressive team but on the other end will also favor the team that makes the fewest mistakes.
“It’s hard to do, right?” Beard said. “How can I be aggressive and be discipline enough not to make mistakes. This is BCS basketball. That’s what you have to do. It’s a challenge for us because we’re a new team. It’s a challenge for us because we have young players, but, no-excuse culture. We got to get it figured out. We’re right there.”
Status of Jahmi’us Ramsey
Freshman guard Jahmi’us Ramsey left the Iowa game with an injury, which was announced as a hamstring issue today.
Beard said Ramsey is day-to-day and could possibly play Wednesday against DePaul but has to be cleared and be 100 percent.
Ramsey is the team’s leading scorer at 17.3 points per game in his 27.7 minutes averaged this season so far.
With Ramsey’s absence, it looked although the team had to find another go-to scorer, and Beard said it was a challenge to play without the leading scorer against a Big East.
“But again,” Beard said, “no-excuse culture. Next-man-up mentality. I was really proud. Played that game in overtime. You’re literally one decision away, one better play, one mistake eliminated, one aggressive play away, from winning. This is where we’re at, but this is basketball. If we made two plays, then we’re sitting here, we’re advancing into an undefeated season and everybody is having parties and knocking pinatas in the parking lot, but you come up a little short… So, my message to our young team, especially our freshman, is yes, the sun’s coming up tomorrow. We’re doing really well. I’m proud of these guys. The expectations here are going to be to win every game, and we worked really hard to build those expectations.”
“Those expectations weren’t here when we got to Lubbock four years ago. They were created and built by our player. So, we’re glad we’re in the world we’re at. We’re glad that it’s not pleasing that we lose a close game to a good team. We welcome that, and we’re proud of building a program that has these expectations, but on the other end, you got to understand you just got to stay the course. This is what BCS basketball all is.”
Beard began by talking about the Blue Demons, saying they are playing the best they have in the past 40 years. He said he has gotten his fill on their games, all of them in fact, watching and studying them for the trip to Chicago.
“First of all, they have really good players,” Beard said. “One of those players is playing on a graduate, you know, or transfer, immediate waiver with Charlie (Moore). He’s one of their best players. He runs their team. He’s a guy we have a lot of respect for that we competed against in Kansas, and again, I was happy for him, was happy for college basketball that a really good player gets a chance to play.”
Beard referenced his frustration to the denied waiver for UNLV transfer Joel Ntambwe and the inconsistency of the NCAA allowing who gets to play.
In addition, Beard described the Blue Demons as well as the mutual respect between the two teams.
“DePaul’s team is better this year because they got a waiver. Also, a lot of respect for their coach. He’s somebody I’ve studied for a long time. We had a chance to compete against him when I was at Little Rock. He’s been nothing but first class over the years with regards to our program, and we certainly return that respect. He’s built the program the right way. He’s built a roster now that, I think, compete with anybody in the country.”
Beard said the Blue Demons are long and athletic and have a couple of NBA players on the team as well.
“They’re good defensively this year,” Beard continued, “great rim protection, the best shot-blocking team that we’ve seen to this point. So, it’ll be a real challenge for us, but it’s an opportunity.”
Following this game, the Red Raiders will be back in the New York City for a game against potentially the best team in the country at the moment in the Louisville Cardinals.