With the baseball and football championships in hand, it's time we take a realistic assessment of the hoops team's chances of completing the unprecedented trifecta of national champsionships. The odds are long, but it's certainly doable.
The Regular Season
Looking ahead at the rest of the Horns Big 12 regular season schedule looks promising. With 14 games remaining on the schedule, the Horns will be favorites in every game. Let's be skeptical and assume the Horns blow two of those games; say, at Oklahoma and at Texas Tech. I think 12-2 down the stretch is probably the low end of what the Horns can do. If they are healthy (ahem, Mr. Buckman), they can run the table 14-0. Regardless, I'm saying the Horns enter the Big 12 tournament at 26-4 with the #1 seed in the Big 12 tourney.
The Big 12 and NCAA Tournaments
The Horns will be a #1 seed, receive a first round bye, and will then need to win three to win the championship. Again, let's be skeptical and say the Horns only win two before losing in the finals. The Horns resume now looks like this:
28-5 record (16-3 Big 12), with quality nonconference wins of @ Memphis, Villanova (home), West Virginia (neutral), Iowa (neutral).
The only question will be, is that a #1 or #2 seed? The current contenders for the #1 seeds are Duke, UConn, Memphis, Florida, Villanova, Texas, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin. I'll give Duke and UConn a #1 seed right now. Count on it. Considering Florida's hot start, and the SEC not being great this year, and I suspect they'll get one, too. That leaves one spot, and Texas has beaten Villanova and Memphis.
I think Texas is going to play in to a #1 seed, but at worst, we'll be a #2. We'll open our 1st and 2nd round games in Dallas, which will be a huge advantage. I think you can go ahead and pencil the Horns in to the Sweet 16.
Beyond that, anything can happen, and the Horns chances to make the Final Four will depend on:
- Buckman's health
- Abrams' continued development to provide valuable minutes in relief at the point
- The Horns stamina. As thin as we are, we're going to be awfully tired and beat up when we finish with the Big 12.
Hook `em Horns.