How Much Longer Until The ’66 TWC Miners Have Company?
Twelve seconds. That is how long Texas Tech was from winning their first ever Men's Basketball National Championship. However, Virginia's De'Andre Hunter buried a three pointer to tie the game at 68 and send it into overtime. The Cavaliers took over in the extra session and outscored the Red Raiders 17-9 to win their first National Title. Just like that Tech's magical season came to an end in Minneapolis.
Within moments, social media was bombarded by photos of Don Haskins, the '66 Texas Western Miners, and other reminders that TWC remains the only school in Texas to win an NCAA National Championship in men's basketball. El Pasoans raised a glass and celebrated the Miners' historic achievement from 53 years ago.
The Red Raiders were so close to joining them in basketball immortality and many people saw similarities between the two teams. Tech head coach Chris Beard and his team's profile was similar to a young Don Haskins and TWC. Both play terrific defense and shut down even the best offenses in college basketball. Both had terrific shooters and players who excelled above the rim. The Red Raiders roster was a veteran group made up of four seniors and a sophomore guard who will be a lottery pick.
With Tech losing Jarrett Culver, Brandone Francis, Matt Mooney, Norense Odiase, and Tariq Owens, Coach Beard will have a lot of leaders to replace for next season. However, they currently have the 14th best recruiting class in college basketball, headlined by Duncanville guard Jahmius Ramsey and top Juco forward Khalid Thomas. Although they might not be a Final Four team, you can bet the Red Raiders will be near the top of the Big 12 next season.
The question is how long will it take until a Texas school finally breaks through and wins the NCAA Tournament? Texas Tech was 12 seconds away from glory and 36 years earlier, Houston was tied with North Carolina State until Lorenzo Charles' buzzer beater to give Jim Valvano's Wolfpack the win. In 2003, Texas played in the Final Four, only to lose to Carmelo Anthony and Syracuse in the National Semifinals. While UTEP fans wait for Rodney Terry to turn around the men's basketball program, one thing has not changed. The Miners are still the only Texas school to win an NCAA National Championship.