John Hoover

Sporting News: Here’s how Texas Tech used the pain of last year’s loss to Villanova to fuel Sweet Sixteen return

Sporting News: Here’s how Texas Tech used the pain of last year’s loss to Villanova to fuel Sweet Sixteen return

Texas Tech players celebrate the Red Raiders’ return to the Sweet Sixteen.

TULSA — After losing to Villanova in the East Regional final last year, Texas Tech coach Chris Beard extolled the virtues of the Wildcats’ toughness. Beard and the Red Raiders left Boston with a 12-point loss to the eventual national champion, but also gained quite a bit in defeat.

First and foremost, Tech picked up a little toughness of its own, which was on display throughout Sunday night’s 78-58 second-round NCAA Tournament victory over 6-seed Buffalo. In losing to ‘Nova last year, Tech was outrebounded 51-33.

“Of course it’s been on our mind since the buzzer went off,” said senior Norense Odiase, who had 14 points and 15 rebounds against the 6-seed Bulls. “It’s, how do we get back to that level? When we get back to that level, how can we seize the moment? That’s the process of the everyday grind, is thinking about that game.”

In two games inside Tulsa’s BOK Center, 3-seed Texas Tech (28-6) showed its focus and its newfound toughness with 15- and 20-point victories. Now, it’s back to the Sweet Sixteen for the second year in a row (a program first), where Michigan awaits in Anaheim, Calif.

To read the rest of Sporting News’ NCAA Tournament coverage from Tulsa, click here:

John Hoover

John Hoover wrote for the Tulsa World for 24 years before joining The Franchise, where he was co-host of "Further Review" and "The Franchise Drive." Now he's The Franchise college football insider: Oklahoma's state Heisman rep, a voter in the FWAA Super 16 poll, an FWAA media access liaison, and a Big 12 writer at Sporting News and Lindy's preseason magazine. In his time at the World, Hoover won numerous writing and reporting awards, including in 2011 National Beat Writer of the Year from the Associated Press Sports Editors for his work covering the Oklahoma Sooners. From 2012 to 2016, Hoover was the World's lead sports columnist and won national awards in 2012 and 2014 from the National Athletic Trainers Association for reporting on sports medicine and in 2015 won first place in sports columns from the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. After receiving a journalism degree from East Central University, Hoover worked at newspapers in Ada, Okmulgee, Tahlequah and Waynesville, Mo. He played football at Ada High School and grew up in North Pole, Alaska. Hoover and his family live in Broken Arrow.

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