It’s been a college basketball season no one will ever forget in Lubbock, as Texas Tech basketball made the Final Four for the first time in program history. Chris Beard’s bunch rolled through Big 12 play en route to winning the conference during the regular season, then looked fantastic during the NCAA Tournament to punch their ticket to Minneapolis.
Sure, the Red Raiders have the best defense in America and a future lottery pick in Jarrett Culver, but the team also has a secret weapon: Lil Nas X. The country singer/rapper is in the midst of one hell of a week, as the remixed version of “Old Town Road” featuring Billy Ray Cyrus is a smash hit.
But before that happened, the Red Raiders were gigantic Lil Nas X fans, as evidenced by videos of them celebrating Tournament wins to the original version of the track.
As USA TODAY Sports learned, the song serves as the “rallying cry” for Texas Tech hoops, with Beard believing the song’s unique status as a country and rap track appeals to everyone.
“I think ‘Old Town Road’ is the diversity that we’re looking for in our program,” Beard said. “I like country, the guys like hip-hop/rap, and it’s both. So the first time we all heard it, I think we just ran with it.”
There’s a lot to like about the physical, in your face way the Red Raiders play basketball, but it’s even more fun to watch them celebrate by blasting a song that became famous via TikTok after wins. Lil Nas X has enjoyed it, too, and before Tech plays Michigan State in the Final Four on Saturday night, he decided to show the team some love.
Texas Tech are no strangers to having musicians as fans — the late, great Nipsey Hussle cheered them on during their Elite Eight win against Gonzaga. The Red Raiders have done some great work on the road to the Final Four, and with Lil Nas X in their corner, it’s safe to say they’re gonna ride ’til they can’t no more. (Sorry.)