The Texas Tech basketball program is in the middle of its best NCAA Tournament run in program history. The Red Raiders are playing for their first ever NCAA championship on April 8 behind the play of guards Jarrett Culver and Matt Mooney. Their play is not the only thing propelling the Red Raiders as the viral country rap song “Old Town Road” has also helped them make the title game, according to SBNation.
The song was released in December 2018 by Lil Nas X and was introduced to the team by freshman Kyler Edwards. The freshman sent the song to sophomore Parker Hicks, who started playing the song in the locker room.
At first, “Old Town Road” was not accepted by the team initially but is now seen as the team’s anthem.
The song’s blend of country and rap is a perfect example of Texas Tech’s makeup. Hicks is a self-proclaimed country boy along with several other players on the team, while other players on the team are fans of rap. Even Texas Tech’s head coach Chris Beard is fond of the song as it was blasting in the locker room after the Red Raiders upset top-seeded Gonzaga in the Elite Eight.
Defense has been the driving force for Texas Tech in its NCAA Tournament run as the Red Raiders have held all of their opponents at least 15 points per game under their season average. Gonzaga was the only team to score over 60 points on Texas Tech in the NCAA Tournament and that trend could continue against Virginia in the title game.
The Cavaliers play a similar style of basketball to Texas Tech as both teams have a huge emphasis on defense. They also can struggle to generate offense during a game, so the winner could be the first one to score 60 points. The Red Raiders have been inspired by “Old Town Road” during this run to the title game and will try to use that inspiration for one more game to cut down the nets.
Tip-off between the two teams for the national championship is set for 9:40 p.m. ET.