Texas Tech continued its resurgence Monday night with a 74-67 upset of No. 6 Texas that knocked the Longhorns out of solo possession of first in the Big 12 and off the projected No. 1 seed line in Jerry Palm's NCAA Tournament Bracketology. No. 2 Houston will replace Texas as the fourth projected No. 1 seed, according to Palm.
"The Longhorns' sixth loss is one too many to remain on the top line," Palm said. "Houston does not have a strong schedule, but it does have wins over Saint Mary's and Virginia and just two losses, one of which came to No. 1 seed Alabama."
De'Vion Harmon continued his recent offensive tear by leading the Red Raiders with 25 points as Texas Tech avenged a 72-70 road loss against the Longhorns from Jan. 14. The win marks two straight against top-10 foes for Texas Tech (14-12, 3-10 Big 12) after the Red Raiders took down No. 7 Kansas State on Saturday. Though TTU entered tied for last in the Big 12 standings, the outcome is still only a Quad 1 loss for the Longhorns (20-6, 9-4) since it came on the road.
Texas trailed by 13 in the second half before rallying to tie the game at the 4:16 mark with a Dylan Disu 3-pointer. From there, however, the Red Raiders used an 6-0 run to surge back ahead. Harmon was the hero of the first half with 21 points, while Fardaws Aimaq and Kevin Obanor came up big in the second half.
PLACE IS IN A FRENZY 🔥@FardawsAimaq ➡️ @_KevinObanor— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) February 14, 2023
📺 ESPN // https://t.co/Xb7LQ7kGfV pic.twitter.com/gXMJ4sdUVO
Big 12 title race remains open
With No. 9 Baylor's 79-67 win over West Virginia on Monday night coupled with Texas' loss, the Bears and Longhorns are now tied atop the Big 12 standings with 9-4 league records. No. 5 Kansas can make it a three-way tie for first with a win at Oklahoma State on Tuesday.
The Big 12 remains absolutely wide open with just three weeks remaining in the regular season. Baylor, Kansas and Texas have all played each other once and will meet once more down the stretch -- the first one comes Saturday when the Jayhawks and Bears square off -- and those game will be paramount to deciding who emerges as the league champion.
Tech finds late-season resurgence
The possibility of Texas Tech playing its way back into the at-large picture for the NCAA Tournament seems far fetched, but the Red Raiders have won four of their past six in an impressive demonstration of pride and resilience after an 0-8 start to league play.
Harmon's play has been key to the surge. Entering Monday's contest, he was averaging 17.2 points over Texas Tech's last six games, and Monday's output marked a career-high for the former Oklahoma and Oregon guard. Harmon finished 9 of 17 from the field, including 3 of 4 from beyond the arc.
BANG 🎯@TheDH11 | #WreckEm pic.twitter.com/YvYwpPtVDn— Texas Tech Basketball (@TexasTechMBB) February 14, 2023
Fardaws Aimaq is back
Making just his fifth appearance of the season after working back from a foot injury, Aimaq played his best game yet. The 6-foot-11 transfer from Utah Valley finished with 12 points and eight rebounds on 6 of 9 shooting with 10 of his points coming in the second half.
His absence for much of this season is just one example of the bad injury luck that has befallen the Red Raiders in coach Mark Adams' second season. Texas Tech has also been without star freshman guard Pop Isaacs in recent weeks, but appears to have turned a corner even amid the adversity.