Hours after the No. 14 Texas Longhorns beat the No. 6 Baylor Bears in the Big 12 Tournamen to end a 13-game losing streak and a stretch of nearly two decades without winning a conference tournament title, head coach Vic Schaefer’s team landed the No. 2 seed in the Spokane Regional, earning a matchup with the No. 15 seed Fairfield Stags.
It’s the program’s highest seeding in four years and affords the Longhorns the chance to send the Erwin Center out in style with two wins.
Five weeks ago, Texas was coming off two consecutive losses to Baylor, prompting Schaefer to excoriate his team, going through a laundry list of complaints:
He put the fault on (1) his team’s inexperience, with three freshmen and two sophomores; (2) its immaturity; (3) his poor coaching; (4) some players’ failure to learn the playbook; (5) his players’ selfishness in shot-taking; (6) his failure to get them to play smarter; (7) the lack of dominant players such as Baylor’s sensational forward NaLyssa Smith; (8) their poor defense; (9) their inability to follow instructions right after halftime; (10) his team’s “relaxing” on defense; (11) “getting out-toughed”; (12) an inability to foul out Smith and Queen Egbo after both were saddled with four fouls with about eight minutes to play and with Texas settling for outside jump shots, just to name the first dozen problems.
Since then, the Longhorns have run off 11 straight wins, beating the Bears for only the second time since 2011, a stretch that included 27 losses in 28 meetings. Freshman guard Rori Harmon has led the way, scoring 50 points in the final two games of the Big 12 Tournament and emerging as the Most Outstanding Player.
If the Horns win the opening game, Texas will face the winner of No. 7 seed Utah or No. 10 seed Arkansas. Stanford is the No. 1 seed in the Spokane section of the bracket.