Hoops: Horns Snag Three Seed; Denver Bound

Despite a Sunday blowout loss to Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Tourney finals, Texas (23-7) earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, its second-highest seeding in history. The Horns will face No. 14 seed Princeton (20-7), the champs of the Ivy League, on Thursday at 6:20 (CST) in Denver in the opening round of the Big Dance.

Texas faces a tough road for a return trip to the Final Four. The Horns are in the Atlanta Regional (the regionals are no longer identified by region but rather by city under the new seeding system which ranks the No. 1 seeds from one to four to potentially set up the best match-ups in the Final Four) along with No. 1 Duke, which beat UT 89-61 back in December, No. 2 Mississippi State, No. 4 Cincinnati, No. 5 Illinois, the Big 10 regular season champs and No. 6 North Carolina. An opening round win would set up a round of 32 match-up with the Tar Heels (18-10 overall, 8-8 in the ACC) for the right to advance to the Sweet Sixteen in Atlanta.

But the Horns must first get by the Tigers, who have won nine straight and 14 of 15. Princeton is just 6-6 vs. non-Ivy League D-Is and is No. 121 in the latest simulated RPI to UT's No. 10, but the Tigers actually played Duke far closer than did Texas (losing by 18 three days before the Horns lost to the Blue Devils by 28) and came within a three-point bucket of Oklahoma in early January.

The Big 12 landed just four teams in the Dance, with both Oklahoma State (No. 2 in the East Rutherford regional) and Kansas (No. 4 in the St. Louis regional) getting sent to friendly territory in Kansas City. Texas Tech grabbed a No. 8 seed in the East Rutherford regional with a potential second round match-up with No. 1 seed Saint Joseph's. The Bubble burst for Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma.

The other No. 1s aside from Duke, the No. 2 top seed, and Saint Joseph's, the No. 4 top seed, are Kentucky, the top overall No. 1 seed, and Stanford, the No. 3 overall No. 1 seed. If all four ones make it to San Antonio, the Wildcats would take on the Hawks and the Blue Devils would square off with the Cardinal.


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