No. 8 Texas projected No. 2-seed in March Madness but ceiling could be higher


Lorianne Willett

Senior forward Timmy Allen runs downcourt during Texas’ game versus Texas Tech on Jan. 14, 2023.

Payne Williams, Sports Desk Editor

Texas men’s basketball has a chance to enter March Madness with the highest seed it has held since 2008. It’s been 15 years since the Longhorns entered March’s tournament with a 2-seed or higher.

However, the ceiling could soar higher for No. 8 Texas as the regular season closes. As teams enter their conference tournaments, there exists a sliver of hope that the Longhorns can earn a coveted 1-seed by running the gauntlet through the Big 12.

Texas’ remaining schedule still features a road matchup against No. 9 Baylor and its regular season finale at home vs. No. 3 Kansas — which is on a five-game win streak, including a win over the Longhorns. Wins against the two most recent national champions, along with other factors, could propel Texas over its 2-seed projection that sources like ESPN and CBS Sports have designated it.

Kansas, along with Alabama, Purdue and Houston, are the projected No. 1 seeds, and the Jayhawks are likely the Longhorns’ most direct competition in reaching that mark as they’ll face each other at least one more time before seeds are determined on March 12. Kansas would likely need an additional loss to increase Texas’ likelihood of a 1-seed.

The Longhorns were last selected No. 1 in 2003 when former head coach Rick Barnes led his team to the Final Four — a trip they haven’t made since.

In addition to Baylor and Kansas on the remaining regular season schedule, Texas completes its series against No. 24 TCU in Fort Worth, but perhaps more important in determining its fate is the Big 12 tournament.

It’s not entirely clear how significant conference tournaments are in determining March Madness seeding, but a similar run to Texas’ Big 12 championship in 2021 could solidify the team’s candidacy into the national tournament. However, it will have its hands full in a conference that features six teams in the AP Top 25, including three in the Top 10.

Suffering multiple losses to finish the regular season or a flop in the conference tournament could all but eliminate the Longhorns’ chances of a 1-seed and may push them further down than No. 2-seed.

Despite the slate of competition that lies ahead of Texas, the Longhorns’ fate largely rests in their own hands as the regular season comes to a close. Regardless of the outcome, interim head coach Rodney Terry said the league’s strength will pay dividends into March.

“It is going to serve well for a lot of our teams in postseason play,” Terry said Feb. 20. “We’ve had to play March basketball since the end of January.”