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There's a Baseball Game Tonight

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Texas went into the weekend needing a series win and got swept by Oklahoma State. With 30 wins mathematically out of reach and a Tournament resume in tatters, the Longhorns look to find motivation against the visiting Prairie View A&M Panthers.

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In a season where mid-week losses have had as much an impact on Texas' downfall as a terrible start to the season, the bitter icing on the cake would be a home loss tonight to 10-28 SWAC opponent Prairie View. I don't think it'll happen, as it's been repeated in this space many times: Texas has not had a good year, but the kids on the team have proven they aren't interested in packing it in and quitting.

So what's still out there for them? At 20-24 with eight games left to play, the Longhorns could theoretically end up four games over .500 if they win out. Doing so would put them at 15-9 in the conference and probably the 3 or 4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. On the other hand, finishing with series losses to West Virginia and Baylor could leave the Horns anywhere from 4th to 8th in the conference tournament seeding--but, barring a miracle run by Kansas State, Texas should be confident of at least having a spot on OKC.

That matters a lot at this point because the only realistic shot Texas has of getting into the NCAA Tournament--like last year--is to win the conference tournament. (It's a conversation for another day what it says about the state of the program that Texas will now have gone two straight years, and four of the last five years, without earning an at-large bid to the big Tournament.)

That's because, according to Boyd's World, Texas' RPI now sits at a devastating 126--with essentially no chance to significantly improve it. Even if the Longhorns were indeed to win their last eight games, it would involve one home win over Prairie View (RPI: 298 out of 300), three road wins over West Virginia (RPI: 115), one home win over Texas State (RPI: 167), and three home wins over Baylor (RPI: 129). In other words, even winning out would likely only marginally improve Texas' position--maybe to somewhere around 100--and would not be enough to get them in the conversation for an at-large bid.

OK, I know I just said this is for another post, and it is, but one last thought here: Texas baseball's biggest enemy at this point is apathy. Tune into LHN tonight at 6 for first pitch, or go to the game, and look at the breathtaking number of empty seats. Look back at the tape from last weekend's do-or-die series against Oklahoma State and notice the entirely empty sections. Unlike many college towns whose schools Texas is usually in the baseball-attendance conversation with, Austin offers a ridiculous plethora of weekend activity options to compete with Longhorn baseball. Fans can easily check out mentally, and the empty seats last weekend with something really on the line showed how much that's happened.

Greg Fenves and Mike Perrin are going to have to decide in a couple of weeks whether it's worth continuing down this path of lowered expectations and lowered fan engagement for the possibility of Augie Garrido getting his 2,000th win.

But for now, this is your open thread for Texas vs Prairie View. Connor Mayes takes the hill in search of his first win.