The Texas Longhorns NCAA Tournament hopes took a fairly significant turn for the worst on Thursday night.
After outlasting Iowa State in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday, a late, second-half push wasn’t enough as the Longhorns fell to Texas Tech in the Big 12 quarterfinals, 73-69.
Although it just was a four-point loss to a high-level team with key contributors out or hindered by injury, the defeat may prove to be much more impactful in regards to Texas’ NCAA Tournament aspirations. During the ESPN broadcast, the Longhorns NCAA Tournament odds based on the outcome of the game were presented, and with a loss, Texas’ chances of making the Big Dance would drop to just 37 percent.
Of course, the Longhorns did lose, and thus, will spend the days until Selection Sunday nervously awaiting their fate.
In the mind of the coach of the team that sent Texas home with a loss and dented its tournament odds, Chris Beard thinks the Longhorns are not only a tournament team, but can make a run.
Tech coach Chris Beard on Texas: "They're an NCAA Tournament team, in my opinion. … I think they're a team that can make a real run in the tournament."
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) March 9, 2018
ESPN Bracketologist Joe Lunardi echoed Beard’s sentiments following Texas’ loss to Texas Tech.
“I think Texas is going to make it unless we have a lot more of what we just saw with Middle Tennessee,” Lunardi said. “I think the real key for Texas, as strange as it may sound, is Baylor. Baylor swept the Longhorns, which is big for me, but I think if Baylor loses to West Virginia in the nightcap, I think the Bears will be the Big 12 team that’s on the outside looking in.”
With Texas’ NCAA Tournament hopes now completely out its hands, the ‘Horns can only wait and see how things play out with teams such as Baylor, and ultimately, how things shape up on Selection Sunday.
Although the BPI odds aren’t in Longhorns’ favor at this point, one of the best in the business in Lunardi thinks Texas should be dancing, as does the coach that dealt Shaka Smart’s club its latest loss.
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