The Texas Tech men’s basketball team is looking to go 3-0 this season as they prepare for Grambling State (0-4) at 7 p.m. tonight in United Spirit Arena.
Despite Grambling State’s losses, Tech coach Chris Walker said in college basketball, anything can happen.
“Respect all opponents and fear none,” he said. “We’re going to act like we’re playing for the national championship tomorrow. The next game is the biggest game on the schedule.”
The team will focus on playing Tech basketball more than focusing on Grambling State, he said.
“No one is expecting them to win the game,” Walker said, “but at the end of the day, we just have to play Texas Tech basketball and not worry about what they are thinking or what their agenda may be,” Walker said.
The Red Raiders have seven new players this season, Walker said, but the team has responded well. He expects them to continue to improve in positioning and pressing, he said.
In the 91-63 win against Nebraska-Omaha, the team listened to the coaching staff and reduced the number of fouls, Walker said.
“We’re always going to be a team of momentum and run,” Walker said. “At the end of the day, our goal is the last five or 10 minutes. We’re accustomed to playing chaotic(ly). The guys believe in it.”
The team has respect for Walker and his coaching style, freshman point guard Josh Gray said.
“Coach Walker puts a lot in,” Gray said. “The main part is he makes us feel like family. We can talk to him about stuff going on at home. It’s not just about basketball. That’s why we listen and buy in. We really respect him.”
Like Walker has expressed to the Red Raiders, Gray said Grambling State is the next big game to win.
“It’s a big game,” he said. “It’s like playing North Carolina or Duke.”
Each game the team plays, Gray said, they move up and down the court and press, regardless of what the final score of the game is.
Gray finished the Omaha game with 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.
He is looking to slow down his game, help his teammates to score and lower the number of turnovers, he said.
Gray has improved light-years, Walker said.
“I think he has a great attitude and he’s gotten exponentially better,” Walker said.
The team plans to continue playing up-tempo and pressing the opponent, he said.
“I hope every game is a game (in which an) up-tempo offense can excel,” he said. “Every game is different; (Grambling State) could come in here and shoot lights-out.”
Tech is not a good enough team where any opponent can be eliminated, Walker said, but the team is coming into its own.
“For us to overlook Grambling State is not smart,” Walker said. “We’re playing hard for 40 minutes, which is our goal every single time. (Today) is another dress rehearsal where we get to show what Texas Tech basketball is all about, which is playing hard for 40 minutes.”