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Since former Texas Tech basketball head coach Dave Smart departed for Pacific, there’s been a significant hole in Grant McCasland’s program. Now it appears the Red Raiders are about to make a power move to fill that void.

According to Pete Thamel of ESPN on social media, Wyoming head coach Jeff Linder is Texas Tech’s top target to fill its open assistant coaching vacancy. Any time a program can poach a head coach away from a Division-I program to be an assistant, it is a power move and that appears to be what Tech is on the verge of making.

Linder just finished his fourth season in Laramie, Wyoming. He has a 63-59 overall record with the Cowboys but his team was just 15-17 overall and 8-10 in the Mountain West Conference this past season.

However, Linder did guide Wyoming to the 2022 NCAA Tournament. That year, his squad went 25-9 en route to earning a No. 12 seed and an appearance in one of the tournament’s “First Four” games.

Texas Tech closing in on Wyoming head coach Jeff Linder as top men’s basketball assistant, sources tell me and ⁦@jeffborzello⁩. Deal expected to be completed in near future. https://t.co/VBxQ7kAaAA

— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) May 10, 2024

Since then, though, Linder has put together back-to-back losing campaigns including an ugly 9-22 showing in 2022-23. Now, he appears headed to Lubbock to join McCasland’s staff.

One element that Texas Tech lost when Smart departed was offensive creativity. The former Red Raider assistant was largely responsible for designing Texas Tech’s offensive game plan this season.

In 2023-24, Tech averaged 75.3 points per game which was good for 122nd of 362 teams in the nation. Much of that was due to the 3-point shot. Thanks in large part to Smart’s designs, Tech averaged 8.5 made 3-pointers per contest, 76th-most in the country.

That was a surprise to many given McCasland’s defensive-minded reputation during his time at North Texas when his teams were annually among the best in the NCAA in points allowed per game.

For what it’s worth, Linder’s Wyoming team was merely average on offense in 2023-24. The Cowboys averaged 72.8 points per game, 196th nationally. What’s more, they shot only 20.3 shots per game from beyond the arc (251st nationally).

Whether those pedestrian numbers were a result of Linder’s coaching or the ability of the talent on his roster is something that only people who watched the Cowboys closely will know. That’s not something most Texas Tech fans can claim to have done.

What we do know is that adding a sitting head coach to your pool of assistants is usually a strong move. If nothing else, it is a sign that Texas Tech is stepping up financially to give McCasland who he wants to help him compete in the Big 12.

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