Look, NCAA men's basketball is a big deal, I get it. What I don't get are the "way-too-early" rankings that start rolling out immediately following what is the equivalent of the Super Bowl of college basketball.

Growing up a basketball fan in Texas was frustrating. I live in a state that worships football as if it were God. Trying to understand the collective mindset behind the coveted ranking system for NCAA sports has been even more difficult than loving a round ball sport in an odd-ball state.

This morning, I woke to the news that the home-town squad literally dropped the ball and was one shot away from winning the national championship.

It was disappointing, sure, but then, I immediately began daydreaming about the years to come for our beloved Texas Tech Men's Basketball team. Long awaited seasons developing into magical moments of basketball bliss for this transplanted San Antonio Spurs fan who's now stuck in Mavericks media country. 'Raider! Power!' chants throughout the city during the coldest months of the year, instead of the warmest, will make for a nice change.

The electricity that could be felt at every tournament game send-off or welcome home event is something I hope the Texas Tech fans will be sure to bring to every game from now until the end of time since the world now knows that big things on the basketball court can come out of Lubbock, Texas.

Which lead me to my next thought: "I wonder what the polls show this morning about how the Red Raiders will do during the 2019-20 season." My findings were disappointing at best, and further resolved my opinion that these ranking systems are total bunk!

I saw the first ranking on ESPN this morning; at least they have Texas Tech in the top 25. Then I decided to check out some other well-known lists, such as SI.com, which has TTU also posted in the top 15. USA Today put the Red Raiders at a distant 22nd! Can you say, WTF? Where were they during the season? They'd have to be on another planet not to have seen the strong fundamental game being played this season by the men in red and black.

SBNation listed the team in their top 10, but not ActionNetwork (whoever they are). And last, but certainly not least, on this list of questionable sportsy-ball rankings is that of Sportingnews.com, which doesn't even list Texas Tech in its top 25.


I'm sure that there are good, arguable reasons for why these lists pop up in rapid-fire succession almost at the same time the last buzzer of the season sounds. But for the life of me, I don't understand -- except for the gambling industry, which needs these sort of things to determine betting odds.

It's possible that none of these clowns, who stayed up and toiled away at their 2019-20 rankings, ever watched a game played by Texas Tech until the Final Four, which could be the reason that the team is so underestimated after making such an impressive run to the Finals. Maybe all of the hype about Head Coach Chris Beard "repeating a rebuild" has washed over the sporting community, leaving a sense that hope for a near-future Finals run is dim.

Or maybe they don't know something that I do, which is that Coach Beard will be back next year with an even stronger, more determined squad. One that will have an entire state standing behind them when they make their next run out of the locker room. And that's a bet I would confidently place today.

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