MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - What's happening at Texas Tech this season isn't especially noteworthy.
The Red Raiders have won nine of their 18 games. They're 2-5 in Big 12 Conference play, same as West Virginia as the two meet Saturday in Lubbock, Texas.
What they're doing is important, though. They're moving on, creating new memories, writing fresh headlines after an ugly offseason.
"I'll just say this: It's not a tough situation anymore," interim head Coach Chris Walker said. "I think some of the things that happened on the outside are colored a different way on the inside."
In September, players met with Athletic Director Kirby Hocutt to protest the way Coach Billy Gillispie physically and psychologically treated his team. Scary and private details went public and Gillispie eventually resigned under considerable criticism.
The entire episode was tragic, and perhaps more so for an athletic department still trying to distance itself from a similar situation that ended up costing Mike Leach his job as the football coach.
Eventually, though, the season started and Texas Tech started playing games again. There was a likable coach with a ubiquitous smile, a roster of players committed to the cause and a style of play that entertained and inspired people ready to root for something new.
"I think the community did a good job not making such a big deal out of it," said leading scorer Jaye Crockett, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound redshirt junior forward.
"Everyone really wanted to just focus on the season and how good the team could be. We've got a lot of players on the team who are hungry and want to go out and win for all the people who support us."
It hasn't been easy, though. The Red Raiders have four losses by at least 25 points and are 8-6 at home, but they can make it back-to-back wins at United Spirit Arena by beating the Mountaineers (9-11, 2-5) after beating Iowa State. The 1:30 p.m. game will be televised by the Big 12 Network.
It's been a task finding players, too. Six left the team after last season and have been replaced by six first-year players - three from high schools, three from junior colleges.
Those who have remained have led, including Jordan Tolbert, the leading returning scorer who came out after the initial story broke and said he wouldn't play for Gillespie. That was unwanted attention, though, and the 6-7, 225-pound sophomore forward said he's had to learn from that ordeal.
"I didn't know it was going to get out like that, I didn't know it was going out in the media like that," Tolbert said. "I was shocked. I've got to think before I speak."
Texas Tech goes as its coach goes. A longtime assistant at Loyola Marymount, Vanderbilt, Pepperdine, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Villanova, Walker was named the interim coach in September.