Following Saturday’s loss to the Kansas Jayhawks, the No. 22 Texas Longhorns finished Big 12 play at 10-8 and 21-10 overall. With a game against the TCU Horned Frogs looming on Thursday in the Big 12 Tournament, the Longhorns may not have a lot of potential to improve on widespread projections that head coach Chris Beard’s team will earn a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday.
In BracketMatrix, Texas is the third five seed with a handful of brackets slotting the Horns as a six seed, four brackets as a four seed, and several as low as seven or eight.
BartTorvik.com projects the Longhorns as a five seed with similar resumes ranging from four to eight, with the 2014 Kentucky team that made the finals as the only comparison with a seed as low as eight. The 2010 Michigan State team that made the Final Four as a No. 5 seed is another comparison.
At Blogging the Bracket, Chris Dobbertean has Texas as the No. 5 seed in the South region with a first-round matchup against Iona and a potential game against Illinois in the second round. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi also has Texas on the five line, albeit in the Midwest region against the winner of the Rutgers versus SMU play-in game with Providence as the No. 4 seed.
How much potential is there for the Horns to move up or down? A win over TCU should pretty much lock Texas into a No. 5 seed. A loss in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament could make it more difficult for Texas to maintain its current consensus positioning as a five seed, although TCU is a virtual lock to make the tournament, so it wouldn’t register as a bad loss to the committee. Even a potential win over Kansas in the second game might not be enough to move up to a four seed unless likely four seeds like Arkansas, Illinois, Providence, or UCLA struggle in their conference tournaments.
So right now, Texas is in a strong position to get seed high enough to face a beatable opponent in the first round to earn the program’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2014, but getting to the Sweet 16 may require an upset or a favorable matchup against a team without the type of length and athleticism that has given Texas fits all season. A game against the Fighting Illini and 7’0, 285-pounder Kofi Cockburn is a particularly bad matchup, for instance, because the Longhorns simply don’t have anyone who can guard Cockburn.