Texas Tech trying to break national student attendance record

Texas Tech isn’t known for being a basketball school, but the Red Raiders are going to try to do something not even Kansas or Duke have ever done.

They want to break the national student attendance record with 10,000 strong at Tuesday’s men’s basketball game against Kansas State.

That’s a tall order considering how empty the 15,000-seat United Spirit Arena has been since Bob Knight retired in 2008. The current school men’s basketball student attendance record is 5,898 when Tech upset No. 6 Texas A&M in 2007.

The Red Raiders likely won’t make the NCAA tournament this season, but the fans in Lubbock, Texas are excited about basketball for the first time in seven years because of the progress the program has shown under first-year head coach Tubby Smith.

More than 4,300 students showed up for Texas Tech’s upset of then-No. 19 Oklahoma State on Feb. 8. And the athletic department has been creative in getting the Red Raider faithful to show up in full force.

Against No. 8 Kansas last week, several Texas Tech football players participated in a halftime dunk contest.

A number of prizes for fans will be up for grabs on Tuesday. Will that be enough to get 10,000 students to attend?

United Spirit Arena isn’t Allen Fieldhouse or Cameron Indoor, but Texas Tech could soon become known as one of the toughest places to play in college basketball.

Follow Louis Ojeda Jr. on Twitter @LouisOjedaJr