• July 26, 2014

Lone Star State lets down its college hoops fans

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Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2013 4:30 am | Updated: 9:09 am, Fri Nov 29, 2013.

Sixty-eight teams will be in. Not 64. Sixty-eight, including Florida Gulf Coast, Iona, LIU-Brooklyn and North Carolina A&T.

The remaining 279 teams are out.

And that will include Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, North Texas, SMU, Houston, a few teams from the Southland conference, SWAC and WAC.

The state of Texas is in basketball shambles.

There might be one representative from the state in the NCAA tournament when brackets are announced today at 5 p.m. — the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks and that is only if they get an at-large bid after losing in its conference championship.

Copperas Cove star Cory Scott is probably elated by this turn of events. The guard, who scored 24.3 points per games this season for the Bulldawgs, signed with the Lumberjacks back in November.

For everyone else in Texas, there won’t be much to root for come Thursday when the real field of 64 is set.  

There will be no fanboi picks when people from the Lone Star State begin to analyze their brackets tonight. Instead, they will have to settle for cheering for whomever they decide to finally put on all those blank slots.

The Texas Longhorns can blame the fact they did not make the NCAA tournament on Myck Kabongo’s suspension. But that isn’t true.

They were not that much better with him.

A middling 7-4. Although, I suppose that is better than the 9-13 without him, it still would not have put the Longhorns in the NCAA tournament. They might be in the NIT if he had played, but seriously, who cares about the NIT?

Well, maybe the state of Texas should — at least this year. It is where Baylor, Houston and perhaps a couple of those SWAC/WAC/Southland teams are going to finish up their seasons.

It certainly won’t be at the NCAAs. Perhaps Texas and Houston have an excuse — the Cougars’ top five players are all either freshman or sophomores, including sophomore post TaShawn Thomas, a former Killeen star.

But Baylor? You can only shake your head at the Bears. It could not have gone worse for them if Goldilocks ate their porridge.

Baylor, which went to the Elite Eight last season, should be ashamed of how it finished. Maybe even more so than Texas. At least the Longhorns, have the Myck excuse, even if it barely holds water.

Baylor has plenty of talent, starting with former Killeen star and post Cory Jefferson. Jefferson actually blossomed this season into a Big 12 star, but Pierre Jackson and especially Brady Heslip had fall-offs from a year ago. Heslip the worst of it, shooting only 38 percent from the floor and 37 percent from 3-point range after hitting at a 46 percent clip from each last year. Jackson scored in bunches, but he too, shot significantly worse that last season. More than anything, though, the Bears just did not finish.

They lost close games — less than five points — to College of Charleston, Colorado, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State (twice), Kansas State and Iowa State.

Only two of the Bears’ 14 losses were by more than 10 points. Only one win (West Virginia) was by five points or less and only one more of less than 10 points (a win over under performing Texas, which did not have Kabongo, in overtime).

If Baylor finished .500 in games decided by 10 points or less, they would have finished 23-9 overall and would have been into the NCAA tournament with ease, probably a No. 5 seed.

At worse Baylor would have been a six seed. Instead, the Bears are  more than likely bound for the NIT.

They, like the rest of the state of Texas, are out.

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