Bubble Watch: Can Texas Ride a Big Win into the NCAA Tournament?
The Texas Longhorns have been all over the place this season. Early, in November, the Longhorns reached #17 in the AP poll and were coming off a big neutral site win over then #7 North Carolina. Than the Longhorns blew a big lead to Michigan State that started a three game slide with home losses to Radford and VCU. Ever since that loss to Michigan State, Texas hasn’t been the same since.
Texas has shown us glimpses of what they are capable of, but with injuries and suspensions the Longhorns have struggled to find consistency all year and now find themselves squarely on the bubble. So is Texas a true NCAA tournament team, or should they be sent packing to the NIT.
Texas is now 16-13 overall and 8-8 in the Big 12. Ultimately not the most respectable record looking to receive a bid into the NCAA tournament. However being able to go 8-8 in the Big 12 says something especially looking at the wins that the Longhorns have been able to pick up this season. Besides their early season win over North Carolina, Texas also has wins over Purdue, Kansas, and Kansas State all of which are projected to be a top four seed in this years field. Add to that wins over Iowa State, Baylor, and Oklahoma and the Longhorns have beaten seven teams who will most likely be in the tournament. They are ranked 36 in the NET and are an overall 9-11 in quads 1/2 (5-8 quad 1). With this their resume is pretty solid.
Where Texas has hurt themselves is with their inconsistency. TO go along with all these quality wins Texas has lost to three teams (Georgia, Oklahoma State, and Radford) who won’t even be considered for an at-large bid. Two of their losses (Radford and Providence) are quad three losses and the Longhorns are only 2-7 in true road games. So what can we say for Texas?
First things first, Texas needs to keep winning. They are only three games above .500 and if they fall to .500 overall it would take a miracle to receive a bid no matter how many quality wins you have. The Longhorns have Texas Tech and TCU remaining and must win one of those games going into the Big 12 tournament. One win will guarantee Texas finishes above .500 on Selection Sunday no matter how far they go in the Big 12 tournament.
Second, Texas needs to avoid any bad losses from here on out. This shouldn’t be too much of an issue as both of their remaining games are at least quad 2 games and any team they will face in the Big 12 tournament will most likely be the same.
Texas is a tournament team. They have done enough to make the big dance. What happens from here will fall into the hands of the Longhorns. One more win and they should be in. Their fate will lie in their own hands.