The hand-wringing ends and we can get back to basketball. Despite a pair of four-game losing streaks in the brutal Big 12, Texas did just enough in the Selection Committee's mind to earn a bid to the NCAA Tournament, where they're slotted as a No. 11 seed and will face the 6th-seeded Butler Bulldogs out of the Big East.
Some quick thoughts now that we have the bracket:
* Nice to get in, of course, but also nice not to be, say Boise State, who will have to play their way in by beating Dayton on the Flyers' home floor, where they're next-to-impossible to beat. Tough draw for the Broncos, but at least they'll have a say in the matter. You can only win if you're in, and Texas is in.
* As noted earlier today, playing our way up the seeding board into the 7-10 range would have been of no advantage. The No. 10 seeds square off against a group of No. 7 seeds I want no part of (Michigan State, VCU, and Wichita State -- Iowa would have been fine) and then get a No. 2 seed in the second round. The No. 8 and No. 9 seeds, of course, get the honor of losing to a No. 1 seed before their first weekend is done. As an 11 seed, Texas nestles nicely into a winnable first round game followed by a match up with a No. 3 to make the Sweet 16. I'll take it.
* Our match up with Butler features two of the best defensive clubs in the nation, both of whom play at a pretty deliberate pace. A tight, low-scoring game is to be expected, although I'm hopeful we'll be looking to be aggressive in creating transition opportunities. Particularly given the Bulldogs' excellent work clearing the defensive glass, the transition game represents our best opportunity for quality scoring looks.
* Butler's diminutive point guard Alex Barlow is an elite defender and highly disruptive. The Bulldogs are great at creating defensive game plans to take away an opponent's top offensive options, and I expect we'll see them throw the kitchen sink at making life difficult for Isaiah Taylor. We'll need the sophomore point guard to be poised, and we'll need someone else to step up and assist with scoring. Butler isn't going to let Taylor beat them all on his own.
* I loved Kellen Dunham as a true freshman when I wrote about him back in 2012 prior to the Maui Invitational, and he's developed into a First Team All-Big East stud, as I expected. Roosevelt Jones takes more of the shots, but it's Dunham and his in-the-gym range that scares me the most. This is a match up where situational awareness on defense is critical: we need to understand who can hurt us, and from where on the court, and defend accordingly. I'll cringe if we're flying by Roosevelt Jones on a close out at the three-point line, unaware that he won't shoot it out there, or pinching in too tight away from the ball to be able to close out on Dunham when Butler reverses the ball.
* Texas will play on Thursday, with a 3:00 pm tip on CBS. Good. I don't think there's much for this team to gain sitting around and waiting. Let's just go out there and play.