The Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball team has one of the most storied histories in the NCAA Tournament of any school in the Southwest. Texas Tech first started playing basketball the same year that the school first held classes in 1925. The Red Raiders had a number of solid seasons that pre-date the NCAA Tournament which was first contested in 1939. Texas Tech made its first appearance in the Big Dance in 1954. The Red Raiders would put up a solid fight, losing to Santa Clara in the tournament’s first round. It would not take Texas Tech long to return to the nation’s premier tournament, but the Red Raiders would once again lose in the first round, this time a heartbreaking 1 point loss to the SMU Mustangs.
Texas Tech’s would reach their first ever Sweet Sixteen in 1961, when behind coach Polk Robinson, the Red Raiders would go 11-3 in the Southwest Conference and receive a first round bye in the NCAA Tournament. A year later, Texas Tech reached the NCAA Tournament in back to back years for the first time in school history. The Red Raiders would also win their first ever NCAA Tournament game, defeating Air Force in a 66-68 thriller. The win gave Texas Tech a second straight Sweet Sixteen berth, and cemented the teams place on the national stage. Following the historic 1962 season, the Texas Tech Red Raiders basketball team would not reach another NCAA Tournament for over 10 years. The 1971 hiring of legendary coach Gerald Myers would signal Texas Tech’s return to basketball prominence. The Red raiders would return to the NCAA Tournament in 1973, and in 1976, Texas Tech would win their 2nd NCAA Tournament game.
Under Gibson, Texas Tech would reach the Big Dance 4 more times and the Sweet Sixteen one more time. Following Gibson’s departure from Lubbock, the Red Raiders welcomed college basketball legend Bob Knight as the head of Red Raiders basketball. Under Knight the Red Raiders would reach the NCAA Tournament 4 times. In 2005, Texas Tech received a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament and would go on one of the best runs in school history. Texas Tech took care of UCLA in the round of 64, winning 78-66. The Red Raiders then had their more memorable win in the NCAA Tournament to-date, a 71-69 upset of #3 seed Gonzaga. The win gave the Red Raiders their first ever tournament with 2 victories, and returned the team to the Sweet Sixteen for a 5th time.