NCAA tournament

With another sweep by TCU, Texas’ chances of making the NCAA Tournament took a hit.
Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

FORT WORTH — As the rain poured down on Fort Worth over the weekend, No. 5 TCU added its own flood of runs to complete a series sweep of the Longhorns. 

By the time the series was over, Texas had given up 24 runs and 33 hits, possibly damaging the team’s NCAA Tournament chances.

“We just didn’t execute when we had to,” sophomore catcher Tres Barrera said. “We had our chances, but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”

After a rainout Friday, Texas and TCU played a doubleheader Saturday. Senior pitcher Parker French put the Longhorns in a bind early in the first game, throwing the ball well wide of second base while trying to turn an inning-ending double play in the first inning. The error led to two runs after a single two batters later.

The struggles continued in the next inning as the Horned Frogs plated another run on a single and a fielding error by junior left fielder Ben Johnson to take a 4–1 lead.

TCU (34–8, 10–5 Big 12) had stretched its lead to 6–2 by the time the Longhorns (22–22, 8–10 Big 12) tried to rally in the eighth. Texas loaded the bases with two outs and pushed two runs across on a walk and single, but senior right fielder Collin Shaw struck out to end the inning. The Longhorns added another run in the ninth but fell just short in the end.

Despite the loss, Texas’ momentum in the last two innings carried over to the second game. After TCU scored a run in the first and third innings, Texas fought back with an RBI single in the third, a home run by senior second baseman Brooks Marlow and another RBI single in the fourth to take the lead. 

“We kind of fed off of it a bit,” Marlow said. “We had the momentum a little bit even though we lost.”

But that was it for the Texas offense for the rest of the series as TCU began an outpouring of runs. TCU scored once in the fifth and sixth innings and then broke the game open with a six-run seventh inning to take an 11-6 win.

Sunday, in the third game of the series, Texas had a runner at second base in three different innings and came away with zero runs each time. Meanwhile, TCU scored three in the first as well as two in the sixth and eighth innings to seal a 7–1 win.

“There was a six-run difference because of the quality at-bats [TCU] took to get runners into scoring position and to score the runners,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

The Longhorns return to Austin to face Prairie View A&M on Tuesday before starting their final Big 12 home series against Texas Tech starting Friday night. Texas will likely need to win the Big 12 Championship to reach the NCAA Tournament.

Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

After NCAA Tournament wins against Western Kentucky and California, Texas lost to No. 1 seed Connecticut, 105–54, in the NCAA regional semifinal, ending its long season. 

“It’s frustrating,” junior center Imani McGee-Stafford said. “To be that close is really frustrating. … Every play, every time you didn’t do what you could have done or what you were supposed to do is going to keep replaying until October.”

Texas never led at any point in the game and faced trouble on both ends of the court. 

“Give credit to UConn … but today was just not a good day for us at all,” Texas head coach Karen Aston said.

The Longhorns struggled early to combat the Huskies’ length, shooting 27 percent from the field in the first half. UConn’s height forced Texas to turn over the ball 11 times and resulted in seven blocked shots in the first half. Texas pulled within 6 points midway through the half, but UConn went on a 27–5 run to extend its lead to 28 points at halftime.

UConn junior forward Breanna Stewart scored a season-high 31 points, with 20 coming in the opening half. Texas, as a team, tallied just 24 points in the first 20 minutes.  

In the second half, the Huskies continued their shooting clinic, finishing with 13 3-pointers in the game. Texas’ 18 turnovers helped the Huskies grow their already commanding lead. UConn shot lights out —  56 percent from the field and 42 percent from behind the arc.

“They were hitting on all cylinders today,” said freshman guard Ariel Atkins, who led the team with 11 points. “You have to realize that they’re basketball players just like we’re basketball players, and you have to stand and stick together.”

Despite the defeat, Texas (24–11) had its best season, in terms of wins, since 2003–2004. 

In a season riddled with injuries and other hardships, Texas defied the odds. The Longhorns started 4–8 in conference play but finished the year winning nine of 12 games.

Texas will only lose two players to graduation — Nneka Enemkpali and Krystle Henderson. They will have 13 scholarship players returning along with a strong incoming freshman class.

“I want the players to reflect back on the fact that there was a lot of adversity that they went through — but this was an experience I think they had to have to understand how to get to the next one,” Aston said. “I’m happy that we made another step with the program, and obviously, we need to take another giant one next year.” 

While sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor had 17 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds, a few errors in the final minute led to a loss for the Longhorns to Kansas on Saturday, 69-64. The Longhorns dropped to 17–12 on the season and 6–10 in conference play with the loss.

Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

With hopes of an NCAA tournament berth hanging in the balance, Texas men’s basketball came close to pulling off an improbable victory in college basketball’s toughest road venue Saturday.

But, as it almost always seems to do, No. 8 Kansas once again found a way to win in front of its home crowd. 

Now, with just two games remaining on the schedule, Texas finds itself in jeopardy of missing the tournament for the second time in three seasons.

The Longhorns will fight Monday to keep their postseason hopes alive when they return home to face Baylor, which handed them their worst loss of the season last month in Waco. For a chance at redemption versus the Bears, Texas will need to quickly put Saturday’s tough loss in Lawrence, Kansas behind it.

The Longhorns led well into the second half in the 69–64 loss to the Jayhawks, leading by as many as 6 points with under 10 minutes remaining. But Kansas got hot from the field and the free throw line late, closing the game out with a 16–10 run in the final 6:52 to ice the victory.

Kansas junior forward Perry Ellis was at the forefront of that second-half surge, scoring 12 points in the final 9:30 of the second half. He finished the game with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. It marked the third consecutive 20-point game for Ellis, who has emerged as a front-runner for Big 12 Player of the Year.

Texas missed on a couple of opportunities late to tie the game. With Texas trailing 66–64 with 48.3 seconds remaining, sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then, with the score the same and 6.1 seconds remaining, Taylor missed an off-balance layup attempt on a play in which he appeared to be fouled — though the referees didn’t call it.

Taylor led the Longhorns with 17 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds, but the final minute didn’t go as hoped.

Despite Ellis’ impressive game, the Longhorns turned in one of their better defensive performances of the season. They held Kansas to just 36.2 percent shooting from the field and, remarkably, limited the sweet-shooting Jayhawks to just one made 3-pointer in eight attempts.

Texas’ interior defense was especially impressive. Freshman forward Myles Turner racked up five blocks in the game, while junior center Prince Ibeh had four. Texas had 14 blocks in the game.

With the victory, Kansas improved to a perfect 15–0 at home this season. The Jayhawks have now won 24 consecutive home games, and improved to a remarkable 189–9 at Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bill Self.

The Longhorns dropped to 17–12 on the season and 6–10 in conference play with the loss. A victory would’ve greatly improved their résumé as they try to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament, and now, with just two games remaining, they’re very much on the bubble to make the Big Dance.

A win over Baylor might at least keep Texas in the discussion for a NCAA tournament berth. A loss at home to the Bears, however, would damage their postseason hopes even further.

With hopes of an NCAA Tournament berth hanging in the balance, Texas men’s basketball came close to pulling off an improbable victory in college basketball’s toughest road venue Saturday.

But, as it almost always seems to do, No. 8 Kansas once again found a way to win in front of its home crowd.

The Longhorns led well into the second half in the 69-64 loss to the Jayhawks, leading by as many as six points with under 10 minutes remaining. But Kansas got hot from the field and the free throw line late, closing the game out on a 16-10 run to ice the victory.

Junior forward Perry Ellis was at the forefront of that late surge, scoring 12 points in the final 9:30 of the second half. He finished the game with 28 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. It marked the third consecutive 20-point game for Ellis, who has emerged as a front-runner for Big 12 Player of the Year.

Texas missed out on a couple of opportunities to tie the game late. With Texas trailing 66-64 and 48.3 seconds remaining, sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor missed the front end of a one-and-one. Then, with the same score and 6.1 seconds remaining, Taylor missed an off-balance lay-up attempt on a play where he appeared to be fouled, but the referees didn’t call it.

Taylor led the Longhorns with 17 points and eight assists to go along with six rebounds, but he wasn't able to finish the game the way he hoped.

Despite Ellis’ impressive game, the Longhorns turned in one of their better defensive performances of the season. They held Kansas to just 36.2 percent shooting from the field and surprisingly limited the sweet-shooting Jayhawks to just one made three-pointer in eight attempts.

Texas’ interior defense was especially impressive. Freshman forward Myles Turner racked up five blocks in the game, while junior center Prince Ibeh had four. Texas as a whole had 14 blocks in the game.

The Jayhawks managed to overcome their struggles from the field with a strong day at the free throw line. They finished the game 26-of-32 from the line, where the Longhorns went just 12-of-18.

With the victory, Kansas improved to a perfect 15-0 at home this season. The Jayhawks have now won 24 consecutive road games, and they improved to a remarkable 189-9 at Allen Fieldhouse under head coach Bill Self.

The Longhorns dropped to 17-12 on the season and 6-10 in conference play with the loss. A victory would’ve greatly improved their resume as they try to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament, but now, with just two games remaining, they’re very much on the bubble to make the Big Dance.

They appeared close to finally earning a season-changing signature victory, but once again, they learned why many refer to Allen Fieldhouse as “the best home field advantage in sports.”

Texas soccer entered Wednesday’s game against No. 10 Texas Tech needing a win to keep their waning Big 12 and NCAA tournament hopes alive. The game will go down as a 1-1 draw, but the Longhorns advanced on penalties to keep their postseason hopes alive.

The Longhorns got on the board first with 10:12 left to play in the first half thanks to a goal by junior midfielder Chantale Campbell, but the two Texas teams went into overtime knotted up at one goal apiece.

The Longhorns outshot the Red Raiders 8-1 during the two 10-minute sudden-death overtime periods, but none of those shots found the back of the net, forcing the game to be decided on penalty kicks.

The winner came in the seventh round of penalties when senior midfielder Sharis Lachapelle’s goal was followed up by a Texas Tech chance that smashed off the crossbar.

The Longhorns next challenge will come in the semifinal match Friday at 5:30 p.m. against the top-seeded West Virginia Mountaineers.

The Longhorns have won 32 of their 53 games this season, but it could be game 54 against Baylor that determines Texas’ NCAA Tournament destiny.

Coming into this week, the Longhorns were ranked 27th in the RPI, a computer ranking that the selection committee uses to pick the national seeds and at-large teams. However, with a win over the Bears on Sunday, that ranking will likely rise and increase the chances of the Longhorns making the tournament.

Texas comes into the game looking to take the season series from Baylor for the fifth straight year. The Bears won the makeup game Tuesday night in Waco, 2-1, behind solid pitching from senior ace Whitney Canion. Longhorn freshman Tiarra Davis pitched another strong game with only two runs surrendered and five hits given up over six innings, but struggled to control her changeup. Head coach Connie Clark hopes the off-speed pitch will be better this outing.

“I think that could have really been the difference in this game for her,” Clark said.

The Longhorns will also get another chance to see Canion, who they’ve had success against before. Back on March 22, Texas got seven hits and three runs off of Canion, including a three-run home run from senior catcher Mandy Ogle in a 4-1 win.

But Tuesday night, it was Canion who had the upper hand, allowing only one run in seven innings. She shut down a big opportunity for the Longhorns, who had runners at second and third with one out in the fourth inning.

Sunday’s game will also have more on the line than simple bragging rights. While Baylor has an NCAA tournament spot clinched and will also likely be hosting a regional, Texas’ spot in the tournament isn’t as certain. With an RPI rank of 27, the Longhorns are likely into the tournament even with a loss to the 17th ranked team in the country, but a win against the Bears would help their resume considerably.

Texas will find out if and where it will play in the regionals Sunday night with the selection show on ESPNU at 9 p.m. Regional play will begin Friday.

March Madness is not just for basketball fans this year. Last week, UT’s accounting department won a national accounting championship based on this year’s NCAA tournament bracket.

The competition, organized by Brigham Young University, compares the quantity of articles published in top accounting journals within the past six years. The universities included are based on the 64 teams competing in the NCAA Division I Basketball Championship.

Accounting professor Steven Kachelmeier said he attributes the department’s success to the University’s established history and diverse staff.

“We have the tradition and the scale,” Kachelmeier said. “We have courses in every facet of accounting that gives us the skill set to have a diversity of faculty that covers a multitude of areas reasonably well. We’re a pretty big player in the accounting domain. As long as the basketball team does its job of getting us in the bracket, we’ll win.”

This year, UT defeated Ohio State University in the final round, securing its third win since 2010.

Lillian Mills, chair of the accounting department in the McCombs School of Business, said the department’s faculty are talented on an individual level.

“In basketball language, we aren’t a team with a single outside shooter — we have such a deep roster that any one of my colleagues could be the star on another team.” Mills said.

Kristen Valentine, who went to BYU for undergraduate coursework and is now a UT accounting graduate student, said she used BYU’s national ranking system when selecting UT for graduate school. 

“I did spend time looking at BYU’s rankings to help identify programs to apply to for graduate school and I was excited to see the breadth of topic and method in research at UT,” Valentine said. “I really liked the culture of the department. Students were treated as collaborators and co-workers.”

April Stockwell, communications and marketing manager for McCombs, said she thinks the department will continue to do well because of the devotion of the faculty at the business school.

“We have a solid group of faculty focused on providing students a solid accounting education while furthering accounting research,” Stockwell said. “They innovate both in the classrooms by using technology where it’s applicable and in developing high quality research that is well-respected by their peers. Our department is not only a solid team, everyone is passionate about what they do and it shows in rankings and student satisfaction.”

The Longhorns’ pitching staff continues to look poised for an NCAA Tournament run, but, after a 1-2 start in Big 12 play, Texas must figure out how to do more than just pitch.

Texas (15-6) was outscored 10-5 in last weekend’s series with Kansas en route to losing two of three games after winning four of its previous five games during Spring Break. Although losing the first conference series of the year is difficult, head coach Augie Garrido knows the team will stick together moving forward.

“Obviously, we lost two games, and the way we finished makes it difficult for everyone to make it very positive, but that is what this game does to you,” Garrido said. “We have won 15 games and lost six now. We have won 15 together and we have lost six together, and we continue to move on together.”

The Texas offense was outhit 22-17 in the Kansas series while posting a sub-.200 combined batting average for the three games.

Senior center fielder Mark Payton continues to lead the offense with a .417 batting average and 13 runs on the season. His team-leading 17 walks have also given opportunities to players such as junior right fielder Collin Shaw, who is second on the team with a .344 batting average, to help push runs across.

Many of the recent struggles at the plate have come from the starting Texas freshmen — a group which includes first baseman Kacy Clemens, catcher Tres Barrera, third baseman Zane Gurwitz and third baseman Andy McGuire. The group posted just four of Texas’ 17 hits in the Kansas series, with three coming from Barrera, who has raised his batting average to .197 with the effort.

The Longhorns will battle Dallas Baptist (15-4) Tuesday, a team riding a six-game winning streak into Austin. Despite weaker competition, the Patriots’ numbers appear more consistent across the board, especially on offense.

As a team, Dallas Baptist is hitting .270 with 135 runs scored in 19 games while Texas is hitting .237 with 79 runs scored in 21 games.

Pitching for both teams appears even as well, with Texas holding a combined 2.19 ERA, compared with 2.48 for the Patriots. Dallas Baptist pitchers have proven they can strikeout hitters, however, tallying 190 punch-outs to 123 for the Longhorns.

With similar numbers on paper, Texas will have to find its groove at the plate against Dallas Baptist to prove its record is no fluke.

Sophomore center Cameron Ridley will need to play well inside for the Longhorns when they take on Iowa State this weekend. Ridley is currently averaging 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per game in Big 12 play. 

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Texas’ first chance to make a statement in its pursuit of an NCAA Tournament bid will come at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Frank Erwin Center.

Eight of the Longhorns’ final 14 games are against teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 and the first of those games will be at home against No. 8 Iowa State (14-2, 2-2 Big 12).

“These conference games will be tough,” sophomore center Cameron Ridley said. “But we’re just going to treat those games just like every other. Play as hard as we can and play with the confidence we’ve been playing with.”

Despite what the two teams’ records might indicate, Texas (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) is likely the more confident team heading into the contest. The Longhorns go into Saturday on a two-game win streak, fresh off an impressive road victory over West Virginia in Morgantown, W. Va.

Head coach Rick Barnes’ veteran trio of Ridley, junior Jonathan Holmes and sophomore Javan Felix have all impressed early on in conference play, averaging 10.3, 10.8 and 15.8 points per game, respectively, through the first four games. Ridley and Holmes are also contributing in the rebounding department, each having already recorded a double-double and each averaging 7.3 rebounds per game in Big 12 play.

Iowa State, in contrast, enters the game on a two-game losing streak. After starting the season on a 14-game win streak, the Cyclones dropped their last two games, on the road against No. 25 Oklahoma and at home against No. 15 Kansas.

The Cyclones rely heavily on senior forward Melvin Ejim, who is second in the conference in scoring with 17.8 points per game. Ejim, the lanky Toronto native, is known as a physically gifted, inside-outside threat who can score from anywhere on the court. Couple him with do-it-all senior guard DeAndre Kane, who runs Iowa State’s offense, and you’ve got a potent scoring duo. Kane is averaging 16.8 points, 7.3 assists and 5.9 assists per game.

The Longhorns and Cyclones have two common opponents so far this season — they each played BYU in non-conference play, and they have each already taken on Oklahoma in conference play. With both teams having developed significantly since their respective meetings with the Cougars, a look at their respective contests against the Sooners is a much better representation of how the two teams match up.

Both Texas and Iowa State lost to Oklahoma. The Longhorns suffered a close 88-85 loss at home while the Cyclones lost 87–82 on the road in Norman. Both teams evidently struggled to slow down the Sooners’ scoring offense, but a closer look at the two games demonstrates where the scoring came from: second-chance points. Both Texas and Iowa State had better field goal percentages than Oklahoma in those matchups, but each team was heavily out-rebounded.

Regardless of their difference in ranking, the Cyclones and Longhorns appear to be very evenly matched on paper, so fans should be in for a good one at The Drum this weekend. It may not matter which group hits a greater percentage of their shots, but which team can corral more of the missed ones.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

Head coach Rick Barnes had never missed an NCAA tournament in 14 years at Texas until the Longhorns’ 16-18 campaign last season.

Now, a team led by only two upperclassmen and a wiry, hardworking bunch is in a position to start a new streak for Barnes. The team hasn’t made any excuses about its youth this season, and neither has the coach. When asked at the beginning of the year if Texas (13-4, 2-2 Big 12) could make the NCAA tournament, Barnes responded emphatically. 

“No doubt, we have enough talent,” Barnes said. “We can compete every night we go out on the floor with anyone.”

Texas has done nothing to suggest its coach assessed incorrectly at the beginning of the season. There have been moments when youth flashed, but the team has grown quickly. The Longhorns made second-half comebacks in two of their first three games, and the team’s scrappy attitude has persisted throughout the season.

With 14 games remaining on the team’s schedule, the Longhorns will likely need seven wins to safely make the NCAA tournament, as anything less will land the team on the bubble.

The Big 12 is a potential minefield for the Longhorns. Texas still has eight matchups remaining with teams ranked in the Top 25, and the other programs in the conference aren’t guaranteed wins either. Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas and Oklahoma State have separated themselves from the rest of the conference early in the season, and Texas will have a tough time toppling any of these teams.

But if the Longhorns could surprise with an upset in one of their seven remaining games against these teams, it would be a huge boost to their tournament chances. A win over a top-15 team looks great to the NCAA tournament selection committee and would give Texas a little more leeway with the remainder of the schedule.

As it sits now, the Longhorns could not afford a loss to a team outside the Big 12 elite. But considering the parity of the conference — each team in the Big 12 is .500 or better overall — that will be challenging. 

Texas must sweep the conference’s worst teams: Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU. Those schools are the only Big 12 members to have more than five losses this season, and defeats in any of Texas’ four reaming games against these schools would be a tremendous blow.

More than likely, the Longhorns’ tournament hopes will come down to matchups with Oklahoma and Kansas State, two teams in similar positions as the Longhorns.

Each has the talent to make the NCAA tournament, but it’s hard to envision the Big 12 receiving seven bids. This will likely leave out one or even two of these schools.

Texas has the ability to make a tournament push, but finishing out the season 7-7 will be difficult. Conference play intensifies everything, and Texas’ young team must once again prove it can shine under pressure.