Selection Sunday primer: Will Texas State crash the party?


The Bobcats need one more win to earn an NCAA Tournament bid.

SMU is sure to make the field and might be the highest-ranked team in Texas by Monday.

Before printing out those NCAA brackets, there’s some unfinished business to sort out on Selection Sunday.

Five conferences will hold tournament championship games before the 68-team March Madness field is revealed in a 90-minute CBS show starting at 4:30 p.m.

To nearly everyone’s surprise, Texas State is in one of them. The Bobcats blew out top seed UT-Arlington 83-62 in a Sun Belt semifinal at New Orleans. If Texas State (20-12) beats Troy (21-14) on Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN2), the Bobcats go dancing.

Texas State was a 17-1 shot in Las Vegas to win the conference tournament and was given a 6.6 percent chance of pulling it off, according to The Bobcats entered the day with an RPI computer rating of 192. UT-Arlington was 37th.

The Bobcats have made only two NCAA trips, in 1994 and ’97.

If they punch their third ticket, they will be a No. 15 or 16 seed, playing one of the superpowers in the first round, according to Planting the Seeds, the American-Statesman projections.

SMU will be playing Sunday, too. But the Mustangs, facing the Cincinnati-UConn winner in the AAC title game, have nothing to sweat. SMU, 12th in the Associated Press Top 25, might be a No. 4 seed, and by Monday it could be the highest-ranked team in Texas.

Another Texas team didn’t even have to show up for its championship game to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

Texas Southern booked its bid in the most unusual way. Alcorn State, the Tigers’ opponent in the SWAC finale, is on probation and ineligible for the NCAAs. Texas Southern (21-11) certainly deserved the spot, winning the SWAC regular season by three games with a 16-2 record.

Baylor, the Big 12’s third-place team, knows it’s going dancing, although the ninth-ranked Bears have been trending downward with a 3-4 record in their last seven games and 5-6 in the last 11. Once a No. 1 seed, Baylor now looks like a No. 3, probably in the East or South Region.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is the only other state team that had a chance of making it. The Islanders (20-10) played New Orleans (19-11) in the Southland Tournament title game late Saturday in Katy, a matchup of the top teams in the league. A loss would leave Corpus hoping for an NIT or CIT bid.

On the larger scale, defending national champion Villanova and Big 12 king Kansas appeared to have two of the four top seeds nailed down. Many bracketologists are giving the other two No. 1s to ACC regular-season champ North Carolina and 30-1 Gonzaga. Not so fast …

“We still have six teams in the discussion,” Dan Gavitt, NCAA Tournament vice president, told CBS Sports.

Duke and Oregon, possibly even Arizona, are believed to be the other teams. They each played in tournament title games late Saturday.

Gavitt also mentioned that there were fewer teams than usual in contention for the precious final bids.

“We probably have about eight to 10 for three or four spots,” he said.

The Big 12’s Kansas State is one of the toughest calls. Others hovering around the cut line include Syracuse, Rhode Island, Providence, Illinois State, USC and California.

In recent years the selection committee has bent over backward for power conference schools, which bodes well for K-State, the Cuse and the Pac-12.

We’ll know soon.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Triplets of the Big 12: West Virginia
Triplets of the Big 12: West Virginia

We’re taking a tour of the top quarterback, running back and wide receiver of each Big 12 team. Today’s triplets: West Virginia. ((We’ve already done Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.) QB: Will Grier (2016 — did...
Daily Longhorn football history: The 2004 season
Daily Longhorn football history: The 2004 season

The Texas football program dates back to 1893. Each day, we look at a little piece of Longhorn history. We’re starting by looking at each Longhorn football season.  Photo of Sept. 2004 Sports Illustrated On Campus cover, for use with Longhorn football notes. Cover features Longhorn football player, Derrick Johnson...
Tom Herman’s recruiting success at Texas not solely based on Houston
Tom Herman’s recruiting success at Texas not solely based on Houston

Stay updated on the latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Mike Craven of The Forty will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting trail. Much was made of Tom Herman’s run of commitments from Houston-area...
Top opponents for Texas in 2017, No. 11: USC RB Ronald Jones II
Top opponents for Texas in 2017, No. 11: USC RB Ronald Jones II

The countdown to kickoff is on. Over the 100 days before Texas takes on Maryland, we’re counting down the 100 best players the Longhorns will face in 2017. This series is all about impressing your friends at pregame tailgates and watch parties, so grab a notepad and buckle up. Don’t fall into the trap...
The Texas 22: Starting at defensive tackle — Chris Nelson
The Texas 22: Starting at defensive tackle — Chris Nelson

We’re breaking down who we think will be Texas’ starting lineup, a combined effort from Mike Craven, Brian Davis and Danny Davis. We’re doing two a day, one offensive and one defensive player. CHRIS NELSON Junior defensive tackle, 6-3, 300 High school: Lakeland (Fla.) Victory Christian Signing class: 2014 Career games...
More Stories