After a one-year hiatus, the Longhorns are back in the NCAA Tournament, where they earned a No. 7 seed in a loaded Midwest Region. Texas will play on Thursday at the Kohl Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin against No. 10 seed Arizona State out of the Pac 10. The Sun Devils were 21-10 overall and finished third in the Pac 12 with a 10-8 mark; like the Longhorns, Arizona State finished the season on a bit of a skid, dropping their final two games on the road at Oregon and Oregon State and losing in the opening round of the Pac 12 Tournament to Stanford.
If you're shaking your head at the Committee awarding Baylor with the No. 6 seed and games in San Antonio, while the Horns head to Milwaukee as the No. 7 seed, I'm there with you. The regular season should matter more than that, and Texas' overall plus head-to-head resume is clearly superior to Baylor's.
So it goes, and we'll have to make it work against Arizona State. It's a winnable game, but the Sun Devils aren't a great draw for us in a several different ways. First of all, they're experienced, with three upperclassmen starters. Most importantly, though, they aren't a team we can overwhelm with our frontcourt length: ASU is long up and down the roster and has a 7'2" senior center in Jordan Bachynski who has been an even better shot blocker the past two years than Ridley and Ibeh.
Offensively the Sun Devils are only average, making their living on the back of sophomore point guard Jahii Carson, who with Isaiah Taylor makes this the most intriguing first round match up in the Tournament in terms of point guard battles. Carson doesn't have great size -- just 5'11 and 167 pounds -- but is an NBA-level prospect in terms of his speed and athleticism. If Taylor is looking for a good measuring stick for his game, he's going to get one on Thursday.
Much more on this match up and the NCAA Tournament soon. You can hear me talk about Texas and Arizona State on the SB Nation "Selection Sunday Live" show, which begins at 7:00 pm CT.