Texas is off the bubble - in a good way - and in the NCAA Tournament, with a trip to Nashville on the slate against Big East Tournament winner Cincinnati. SB Nation's Texas blog Burnt Orange Nation breaks down a Bearcats team that, despite being on the higher side of a 5/11 matchup, the once-shaky 'Horns match up extremely well against Cincy:
In many ways, Cincinnati is a lot like Texas, with similar strengths and weaknesses. Both teams share the characteristic of being good at offensive rebounding, but bad at defensive rebounding. Despite being an 11 seed, Texas actually has a somewhat higher rating than Cincinnati based on advanced rating systems such as the kenpom.com ratings or the SRS. The difference between these two teams is that during the season Cincinnati managed to win some of their close games against top teams, whereas Texas did not. Of course these wins matter, and Cincinnati has a higher seed as a result. But they probably aren't very useful in predicting what is going to happen in Nashville. This game is a coin flip, which after the season that Texas has had is about the best that you could hope for.
Fellow Texas blog Barking Carnival lauds the consistency of the program under head coach Rick Barnes, and despite the 'Horns' decline from a national title contender in recent years, the team itself is enjoying its best run in history:
More globally, this NCAA bid was about a continuation of sustained - well, if not excellence - pretty damn good-ness at Texas under Rick Barnes.
- Texas' 13th straight 20 win season
- Texas' 14th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance (tied for fourth behind Kansas, Duke, Michigan St)
- The highest sustained level of basketball success in the history of the program
Click here for a printable bracket for the 2012 NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament.