Longhorns’ tournament chances continue to dwindle

Gage Trexler

After the Longhorns’ thrilling victory over arch-rival Oklahoma at the Frank Erwin Center on Feb. 3, they were on a perfect pace to get into the NCAA Tournament.

Now, Texas has lost three straight — most recently a double overtime loss to Baylor on Monday night — and has plummeted toward the bottom of the Big 12 standings, leaving serious doubt as to whether the team can muster the strength to sneak into the big dance.

Texas is 15–11 overall and a measly 5–8 in conference, which is tied for eighth in the Big 12 standings. The Longhorns have had the lowest-scoring per-possession offense thus far in Big 12 play. Their offense has been extremely inconsistent, with the only reliable source of buckets coming from freshman forward Mo Bamba.

But Texas head coach Shaka Smart’s team has some things going for it: the Longhorns have the second-best strength of schedule and also remain in the top 50 for both RPI and BPI, which are all important factors in the committee’s selection process when the bracket is released next month.

Moving forward, Texas will hit the road to face Oklahoma, Kansas State and Kansas in addition to hosting Oklahoma State and West Virginia in Austin. That’s it — the Longhorns only have five games left plus the Big 12 tournament to decide their fate.

Texas will most likely have to win at least three of those five and do some damage in the Big 12 tournament to punch its ticket to the dance. They’re not done yet, but the Longhorns will need a valiant effort from everyone to keep the NCAA Tournament dream alive this season.