I neglected to pack my phone charger for my trip to DC, which complicated my weekend incredibly. Beyond trying to coordinate plans with everyone, I had to make sure I saved enough juice to call AW from the tarmac in Cincinnati to get the lowdown on our seeding. I managed to save enough to get about 30 seconds of update from AW; essentially, "Two seed in the South. With no teams that truly scare me."
Now that I'm home and can pour over this myself...
I love it. My first impressions of the brackets:
- HOUSTON!!! Yes, yes, YES! How long ago did we start honing in on this particular prize? No later than early December, when it was clear Texas had a chance to put together a special season. They did, and though I'm disappointed Rick didn't get his first tournament title, the bigger prize this season was the Houston regional. In another year, when there's not such a favorable home regional, I'd be more upset we lost to Kansas today. As is, the loss might have been the difference between #1 in Detroit and #2 in Houston. If so? The loss was worth it.
- Miami could be a tricky second round opponent if they get by St. Mary's, if only because they're a very athletic team, but the draw is one I like overall. Among the potential Sweet 16 opponents, Stanford-Marquette-Kentucky is solid, but not dizzying. I was much more afraid of Stanford until I saw them play live; their guard play is substandard and they're a very, very slow team overall. I'm not sure they're well suited to a team as quick as the Longhorns.
- Looking around the brackets, I'm damn glad we're not in the Midwest Regional, which is positively loaded with teams I'd just as soon avoid. Kansas, Georgetown, Kansas State, Wisconsin, Clemson, and Southern Cal make the Midwest region the toughest grouping in my mind.
- It was a solid day for the Big 12, which gets its six bids, highlighted by Texas and Kansas, followed by (6) Oklahoma, (9) Texas A&M, (11) Kansas State, and (11) Baylor. The Aggies could actually present an interesting test for UCLA in the second round out West.
- Much, much more in the coming days, but this has to be considered a roaring success. In a year where Texas had a chance to play its way into a Little Rock-Houston-San Antonio situation, Rick Barnes coached this team into one that broke the school record for regular season wins. Slayers of Tennessee on a neutral floor, UCLA at Pauley Pavilion, and Kansas in Austin, no team accumulated as many tier one victories as did the 2007-08 Longhorns. And they did so after losing one of the greatest college basketball players to ever take the floor. Whatever happens in the coming weeks, this coaching staff and this group of players deserve every bit of congratulations we'll be heaping on them for getting to this position. They earned it, through a brutal schedule, with no one predicting this kind of season even possible.