Initial reaction subdued
The Longhorns, like most programs around the country, gathered in unison in front of a television Sunday afternoon in anticipation of where they'd land in the NCAA Tournament.
I found it quite peculiar that when their name popped up on the screen – 7th seed in the Midwest Region where they'll face 10th seed Arizona State at 8:40 p.m. C.T. in Milwaukee on Thursday – that not one player jumped for joy. No high-fives were given. Just some subtle applause.
I'm not saying their reaction was bad, at all. I just found it surprising for a team that didn't make it at all this time a year ago. I guess I was expecting a little bit more.
Heck it was the first time Cameron Ridley had ever watched the selection show. Ever.
"That's the first time I've ever watched the selection show," Ridley said. "I know that sounds bad. Kind of nerve-racking leading up to that point because we didn't know where we'd be. But it was fun, I guess you could say."
To me it showed that they weren't just satisfied with being invited, but that there was plenty of work to be done. That's something Jonathan Holmes touched on.
"We are going in this trying to win the national championship," Holmes said. "We are taking it one game at a time. But we are not saying ‘Lets get to the Sweet 16 and call it a good season.' Our goal is the national championship."
Why not shoot for the stars?
Texas is certainly battle-tested enough to stand up to its completion. Of UT's 33 games this year, 18 have come against teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. The Longhorns hold a 9-9 mark against those teams. That includes six Big 12 teams.
No go in San AntonioThere was some buzz in Denton A Cooley Pavilion on Sunday that the Longhorns could, perhaps, find their way in San Antonio as part of the West Region. Instead, that slot, the No. 6 seed in the West, went to Baylor, who will play No. 11 Nebraska at the AT&T Center. A little bit of the air went out of the room when the Bears were slotted in San Antonio. It's a team Texas defeated twice in the regular season but got blown out by in the Big 12 Tournament.
"A little bit [of disappointment]," Taylor said. "But we know that Baylor has been the hottest team in the Big 12 as of late. I think Baylor won 9 of their last 10, and they had a really tough non-conference schedule."
Added Demarcus Holland: "I saw San Antonio up there and smiled because I wanted to play in San Antonio. But a court is a court, and the game is the game."
Javan Felix shared similar sentiments.
"Today we talked about it hoping we would be in San Antonio," he said. "If we would have beat Baylor we probably would have been in San Antonio. It would have been a good thing for us. No matter where they put us we have to be ready to play. That's the main focus."