The idea arose after a three-game losing streak in early February, when Red Raiders captain Norense Odiase suggested that players put away their cell phones before bed, Time reported. Texas Tech won its game the next day, prompting coach Chris Beard to expand the cell phone ban.
Instead of just turning in cell phones on nights before game days, Texas Tech players would hand over the devices every night before bed during their road trips. The Red Raiders have lost just one game since the ban was instituted, according to the report.
“Just to be able to get away from it, just live in the moment, feels great,” Texas Tech forward Tariq Owens told Time. “I know this for a fact, not a lot of teams would be happy about it. This is the kind of culture we have. Guys don’t care about it. We’re locked into more important things than cell phones.”
This isn’t the first time Texas Tech has limited cell phone use to get focused. Beard previously had players surrender their cell phones before a team retreat last October, Yahoo Sports reported.
Traditionally known as a football school, Texas Tech’s men’s basketball team has made a dominant run through this year’s tournament. The school defeated Michigan, top-seeded Gonzaga and Michigan State en route to the championship game.
The Red Raiders will face the Virginia Cavaliers at 9:20 p.m. ET on Monday.