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March Madness News and Notes

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News and Notes from Texas, the Big 12, and around college basketball.

Texas's offense is now rated as the second most efficient offense in the country by Ken Pomeroy. The defense is rated as just the 59th best but has been steadily rising in the rankings over the last month.

In my opinion, Texas really lucked out with the Big 12 draw by avoiding both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and the two teams on the NCAA bubble. Even though both OU and OSU have been downright awful down the stretch, avoiding both home state teams is nice. The top three teams, including the Longhorns, have already sewn up NCAA tourney bids but the at-large resumes of the Red Raiders and the Wildcats still need improving. Playing an opponent with more to play for is a big equalizer in sports.

Texas has never won the Big 12 tournament title despite being the #1 seed twice, but the Longhorns have lost in the finals twice--to Oklahoma State in 2004 and to Kansas in 2006. In the Big 12's history, Kansas won titles in '97, '98, '99, and '06; Oklahoma won titles in '01, '02, and '03; Oklahoma State won titles in '04 and '05; and Iowa State took the title in '00.  

Since Rick Barnes arrived at Texas, the Horns have earned a top four seed and a first round bye in the Big 12 tournament in eight of his nine seasons. The only year they did not was 2005 when they earned just a #6 in the Big 12 tournament after losing PJ Tucker to academics and Lamarcus Aldridge to a hip injury halfway through the season. 2005 was also one of only two years in which the Horns failed to win even a single game in the tournament. The other year was 2003, when as a #2 seed, Texas was upset in the quarterfinals by Texas Tech. Some might also remember that the Longhorns rebounded nicely from that early exit by winning four games in the NCAA tournament and earning a trip to the Final Four in New Orleans.

I thought it was odd that the First Team All-Big 12 men's team included six players. That was until I heard about this. The First Team All-Big 12 for the women includes -ten- players. Huh?

If you thought that looked a little funny, take a look at the bracket for the Horizon League tournament. Talk about protecting your top seeds. Come on. Why not just let the top two teams play in a one-game single elimination final?

I'm starting a list of teams we don't want to see near the Horns when the brackets are announced. In my opinion, Texas is extremely vulnerable to teams with a dominating post presence, teams with physical guards, or teams with incredible depth. Other than the teams in the running for #1 seeds, here is my list: Pittsburgh, Georgetown, Memphis, Virginia Tech, and Boston College. Others?

--AW--