Beard, Tech ready for 'homecoming' in NCAA first round


LUBBOCK, Texas -- As if securing the East's No. 3 seed in his second season at Texas Tech wasn't enough, head coach Chris Beard had a cherry added on top Sunday night.

"We're going to Dallas"

In the program's 16th overall NCAA Tournament appearance this week, the Red Raiders won't have to travel far, getting a first round date with Stephen F. Austin in Dallas at the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks.

"Three of our five seniors are from Dallas so this is a special opportunity," Beard said. " You know, I even grew up in Irving, which is right next to Dallas."

Beard, who's coaching resume has taken him far and wide, including a brief stop at McMurry University (2012), hopes this opportunity also brings plenty of the Red Raider nation to his hometown, where a large contingency is expected. The program is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, beating Kansas on the road, and finishing just behind the Jayhawks for the Big 12 crown.

Now, a chance to use their situation to its advantage.

To stay in state and be where many of us have or had called home, that is a special thing," Beard explained. "We intend to take advantage of. it"

Tech will take on No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin (28-6, 14-4 Southland) in Thursday's NCAA Tournament First Round. Tip time is on-tap for 6:27 p.m. CT. The winner will then face the victor from No. 6 Florida and No. 11 UCLA/St. Bonaventure on Saturday in the second round.

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