What is Texas Basketball’s Path To NCAA Tournament?
At this point in the NCAA Basketball season, the Texas Longhorns are going to need to win the Big 12 tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.
The Longhorns might even need to win the Big 12 Tournament to make any postseason play.
It’s unlikely that any of the secondary tournaments will pick Texas because of their poor overall record despite playing in the toughest conference.
So, the path to postseason play goes through the Big 12 tournament. Of course, Texas has never won the conference tournament. And, they have not won a road or neutral site game this season.
This year’s Texas team will need to grow up in a hurry to complete this tall task. It would be helpful to beat Oklahoma on Tuesday night to get their first road win of the season.
What is Texas’ Likely Seed in Big 12 Tournament?
The Texas Longhorns will likely enter the Big 12 tournament as a 9-seed. Now, they could move up to a 7 or 8-seed if they finish the regular season with a flurry.
There is not much separation in the lower-half of the Big 12 standings, which opens the door for Texas to gain a better seed. But, that would require Texas to win a combination of games at Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Texas Tech, or home games against Kansas State, Kansas, and Baylor.
Based on how Texas has played on the road, and the caliber of opponents left to play at home, it’s unlikely Texas moves up.
Alternatively, Texas might drop to a 10-seed if they can’t hold off Oklahoma at the bottom of the standings.
Watching the Longhorns during Big 12 play this season, we predict the Longhorns will be a 9-seed in the Big 12 tournament.
Path to NCAA Tournament Through Big 12 Tournament
If the Texas Longhorns stay a #9 seed, they would have to run the gauntlet of four games in four days.
Fortunately, Shaka Smart’s team is so young and well-conditioned, that they should be able to handle this stretch. The question is whether they can play good enough basketball just to advance to the second day.
Sitting in the 9-seed, the Longhorns will face the 8-seed in the first round, which could be any number of teams including TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech.
But, the big concern is what happens next if Texas wins the 8 vs. 9 game.
Can Texas Beat A Premiere Big 12 Team?
Then, Texas would have to face the #1 seed in the Big 12 tournament. This means facing Kansas at their home away from home in Kansas City. And, the Jayhawks are the reason Texas has never won the Big 12 tournament.
It would be rather amusing if this year’s team somehow found a way to beat Kansas and avenge all those years of losing the Big 12 Championship game against Kansas.
But, even if they beat Kansas, they would face the winner of the 4 vs. 5 game. Iowa State will likely be in this spot, but it’s unclear who would face the Cyclones.
Let’s say Texas beats Iowa State, then it’s a championship game against the winner of the lower half of the bracket. This is likely Baylor or West Virginia.
Texas still has games with Baylor and W. Virginia this season, but it does not seem like the Horns match up well against either team. This is mainly due to the lack of a true PG for the Texas Longhorns.
But, Texas nearly beat the Mountaineers in Austin. And they still get to play Baylor at home to end the regular season.
Overall, though, this entire scenario seems highly unlikely. It is Texas’ only way to make the postseason, but they have not shown poise or ability to win away from Austin.
But, let’s see if this Horns team grows up at the end of the regular season. It would give some more credibility to this path to the NCAA Tournament through the Big 12 tournament.
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