You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Assessing the state of the state in Texas basketball


Highlights

Lone Star teams might only earn three or four bids in NCAA Tournaent.

Baylor and SMU are the only sure things, but others are hopeful.

Planting The Seeds forecasts the entire NCAA Tournament field of 68.

The beauty of college basketball is that no matter how ugly a season your favorite team has had, it is tossed one last life preserver in the month of March.

A lot of Texas teams will try to grab hold. Less than two weeks out from Selection Sunday, only four state teams — Baylor, SMU, UT-Arlington and Texas Southern — are in line to make the NCAA Tournament field, according to Planting The Seeds, the American-Statesman’s weekly projection.

Houston, TCU and Texas Tech have a lot of work to do with the clock ticking, and the other 16 NCAA Division I programs in the state are the longest of long shots.

For most, the only hope is to win the conference tournament. The lower- and mid-major tournaments begin this week while most of the big boys tip off next week, and all 32 champions earn their NCAA credentials. Of 347 Division I programs, about 300 still have a chance, in theory at least, to win the national championship. Or at least punch a ticket to The Dance.

Even Texas. Four wins in four days next week in Kansas City, Mo., salvages a dreadful season for the Longhorns (10-19, 4-12 Big 12). Right now the computers at teamrankings.com put that chance at 0.3 percent. The reality is that no team seeded fifth or lower has ever won the Big 12 Tournament.

OK, so maybe not Texas. What about Texas A&M? The Aggies (15-13, 7-9 SEC), a Sweet 16 team a year ago, simply failed to fire in league play this season, but four wins in four days next week in Nashville would wipe that away. A&M, a projected eighth to 10th seed, is given a 0.9 percent shot of topping the SEC field, according to teamrankings.com.

The Aggies, who lost to Kentucky in overtime in last year’s SEC title game, can look to the 2007-08 Georgia Bulldogs for inspiration. The Bulldogs tied for last in the league then won the SEC Tournament. It can be done, and A&M has some premier talents in center Tyler Davis and power forward Robert Williams.

Baylor and SMU don’t need any miracles.

The 11th-ranked Bears (23-6, 10-6), with 12 wins over the RPI top 50, own the portfolio of a No. 2 or No. 3 NCAA seed, depending on whether they beat West Virginia on Monday night.

The 14th-ranked Mustangs (25-4, 15-1) are a rising No. 5 seed. They carry a one-game lead on Cincinnati with two to play in the American Athletic Conference. The league’s tournament is in Hartford, Conn.

UT-Arlington (22-6, 12-3 Sun Belt) and Texas Southern (17-11, 13-2 SWAC) need to win their conference tournaments, although the Mavericks merit an at-large look with a 34 RPI. UTA is a projected 12 seed; TSU is a 16th seed.

Texas State (16-11, 9-6 Sun Belt) has improved and owns a win over UTA.

Houston (19-8, 10-5), third in the American Athletic Conference, is in the at-large conversation, one of our “first four teams out.”

TCU (17-12, 6-10) and Texas Tech (17-12, 5-11) are drifting badly.

Now, three state teams to keep an eye on during the conference tournaments:

  • A&M-Corpus Christi (18-9, 11-5 Southland) was 9-9 before rattling off nine wins in a row.
  • UTEP (13-15, 11-5 C-USA) endured a 12-game losing streak but grew healthy, jelled and won eight of nine, including five in a row.
  • Rice (20-9, 10-6 C-USA) has taken seven of eight to raise its profile.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

Lance Armstrong, U.S. government spar over upcoming trial evidence
Lance Armstrong, U.S. government spar over upcoming trial evidence

Lance Armstrong’s $100 million fraud trial is months away, yet his fight with the U.S. government and former teammate-turned-rival Floyd Landis is heating up. Armstrong wants to bar testimony and evidence from some of his most dogged critics, including the blistering U.S. Anti-Doping Agency report that led to his downfall and former Tour de France...
Bohls: Great Hills’ Rick Arnett ‘Tin Cups’ his way to U.S. Senior Open
Bohls: Great Hills’ Rick Arnett ‘Tin Cups’ his way to U.S. Senior Open

Ricky Arnett is taking this week off. The whole week, he hopes. As the head golf pro at Great Hills Country Club, which is tucked away just off bustling Capital of Texas Highway in Northwest Austin, Arnett is a very busy man. Between giving private lessons, working with the private club’s 318 members and their families, repairing golf clubs,...
Lions QB Stafford a lock for big money, but does he deserve it?
Lions QB Stafford a lock for big money, but does he deserve it?

Who's a better NFL quarterback: Matthew Stafford or Derek Carr? Which of the 20-something gunslingers would you rather have lead your team for the next five years? Which is most deserving of the richest contract in NFL history? Carr signed a record five-year deal worth a reported $125 million on Thursday, and for at least the next few weeks he'll be...
Michael Jordan fan has crying LeBron James tattooed on leg
Michael Jordan fan has crying LeBron James tattooed on leg

Kalen Gilleese concedes that LeBron James is one of pro basketball’s greatest players, but he still believes that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ star is not in the class of Hall of Famer Michael Jordan, his favorite player. >> Read more trending news So after the Cavs were beaten in the NBA Finals by the Golden State Warriors, Gilleese...
Hoying’s late 3-run shot caps Express rally over I-Cubs
Hoying’s late 3-run shot caps Express rally over I-Cubs

In the first game of the year with a 100-degree starting temperature, the Express offense brought the heat late Friday night, rallying to beat Iowa 8-6. Jared Hoying, optioned from Texas back to Round Rock this week, hit a booming three-run homer over the right-field fence in the eighth inning for the winning runs. The Express started the comeback...
More Stories