the NCAA tournament

Photo Credit: Rachel Zein | Daily Texan Staff

WACO — Since sweeping Kansas State in late March, the Longhorns have struggled to put together any sort of positive momentum.

In the six series since, Texas has posted only one series win while being swept three times, dropping down to an RPI of 104 and eliminating any chance of receiving an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament.

But a nearly two-week long break might just be what the Longhorns needed.

The Texas bats came to life in a three-game set at Baylor with seven long balls and 18 runs, and, while it did come against a Bears team that barely got into the Big 12 tournament, the Longhorns showed a glimmer of hope in a 2-1 series win going into a must-win conference tournament.

“I think it’s really important to have that momentum and go off with a winning feeling and a decisive victory,” head coach Augie Garrido said.

Junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa came alive the most, finally breaking out of slump where he went two-for-10 with zero RBIs after fracturing a bone in his hand at TCU on April 25. Hinojosa more than doubled his season home run total, sending four home four balls over the left field wall, including the tying shot in the ninth in Saturday’s game. That shot was followed by solo home run by sophomore first baseman Tres Barrera to give Texas a 6-5 win.

“Coming back being down a run it’s good for our team,” Hinojosa said. “It shows character we have to not really worry about what’s going on and go out there and play our game.”

Jake McKenzie, who had been used as a relief pitcher for most of the season, showed his offensive prowess in the second game of a double header Sunday. The freshman singled twice with the bases loaded, bringing in two runs each in a four RBI evening to help the Longhorns to an 11-1 run-rule and the series win.

“It was fun; I got a chance to go out there and play so I took advantage the best I could and put the bat on the ball,” McKenzie said.

But beating Baylor in a three-game set is much different than winning the four or five games necessary to win the Big 12 tournament, which the Longhorns will have to do to avoid missing the NCAA tournament for the third time in four years.

Texas, who will enter the tournament as the fifth seed and play Texas Tech Wednesday at 9 a.m., went 2-10 against the top four seeds in the conference and were swept at TCU, who the Longhorns would likely have to beat two times just to reach the championship game.

But, on Sunday, Garrido referenced the 2008 Fresno State Bulldogs. That team had to win its conference title, which it did, and then went on a Cinderella run to win the national championship.

“It’s been done before,” Garrido said. “That’s the model for it.”

Shaka Smart replaced longtime head coach Rick Barnes in early April. Smart led VCU to a spot in the Final Four in 2011.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

The 2014–2015 school year was a roller coaster year for Texas athletics. Fans saw shake-up at the top in men’s basketball, another national championship for men’s swimming and diving and another trip to the Final Four for volleyball. But those changes and successes were punctuated by disappointment — Texas football ended its season with two blowout losses, and baseball is on the verge of missing the NCAA Tournament yet again. Here are five of the top sports highlights from the past school year.

Barnes out, Smart in

After 17 seasons and a recent loss of momentum, former basketball head coach Rick Barnes received his notice after this year’s short March Madness run. Days later, Barnes announced he was headed to Tennessee — and the Longhorns hired former VCU head coach Shaka Smart.

Smart is the first African-American head basketball coach to be hired at Texas.

Smart will bring a “havoc” style of play, an up tempo defense and an offensive system that helped propel VCU to the Final Four in 2011. He has been to the NCAA Tournament every year since 2009.

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor decided to return to Texas for his junior season, and may well serve as engine in Smart’s system next year.

Men’s swimming and diving captures 11th national title

The Longhorns dominated the pool at the NCAA Championships in March, winning the team’s 11th nation championship. Texas led the meet from the start and finished with 528 points. Second-place California ended with 399 points.

In addition to the team titles, the Longhorns also claimed seven individual titles. Sophomore Will Licon and freshman Joseph Schooling led the way for Texas, winning two events each.

Texas is now tied with Ohio State for the second-most national championships in swimming and diving.

Volleyball returns to Final Four

The Longhorns returned to the Final Four in December largely on the strength of senior outside hitter Haley Eckerman. Eckerman finished the season with a team-high 44 aces and 3.24 kills per set in her final year.

The accomplishment was the third-straight trip to the national semifinal round for Texas — a feat only matched by the 1986–1988 team.

Still, the season ended in disappointment. Texas fell behind unseeded BYU 2–0 and couldn’t rebound, losing 3–1 in the national semifinal round. The Longhorns finished the year with a 27–3 record overall and a 15–1 Big 12 record.

Strong’s first season yields mixed results

Head coach Charlie Strong had an up-and-down season in his first year at the helm for the Longhorns. On the one hand, the defense was stout, finishing first in the conference in pass defense and total defense. Senior defensive tackle Malcom Brown had 11 tackles for loss and was selected by the New England Patriots in the first round of the NFL draft.

But the offense struggled with first-year starting quarterback Tyrone Swoopes and a revolving door along the offensive line.

Strong did finish the year on a positive note, locking down the No. 9 class for 2015 according to ESPN.

Baseball fails to live up to expectations

Before the season began, Texas head coach Augie Garrido said this season’s Longhorns would be just as good as the 2005 national champion winning team.

It was a bold statement, but a fair one — Texas was coming off a deep run in the College World Series and had just fallen a game short of playing for the national championship.

But after 48 games, the Longhorns have shown they have little in common with the ’05 team. Texas holds a .500 record, and, barring a run at the Big 12 championship, it will likely miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years.

“We really assumed and thought we had the leadership on this team as a result of how close they were and how many guys were coming back,” Garrido said.

Unfortunately for Texas, Garrido assumed wrong, and the team failed to live up to its own expectations.

The Longhorns will enter the NCAA Tournament having lost three of their last four matches.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

After receiving a top-10 seed in the NCAA Tournament selection show, Texas is slated to face off against the Navy Midshipmen in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship this weekend.

As the No. 9 seed, the Longhorns will be one of 16 teams that will host matches for the first two rounds. All 16 of the top seeds in the tournament will be hosting rounds one and two, and teams that advance to the Round of 16 will head to the Hurd Tennis Center in Waco for the remainder of the tournament.

The Longhorns’ match against Navy will be their first matchup with the Midshipmen since 2007, which resulted in a 4–0 victory for the Longhorns in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. Navy will enter the tournament as an automatic qualifier after claiming the Patriot League title with a season record of 20–10. The Midshipmen are the only team from the Patriot League to receive a tournament bid.

Coming into the championships, these two teams are trending in the opposite direction, as the Longhorns have dropped three of their last four matches while Navy has won four of their last five, including three-straight victories in the Patriot League tournament. However, all four matches for Texas came against ranked opponents, while the Midshipmen played zero ranked teams. 

With a top-10 ranking and five seniors on the roster, Texas hopes to head to Waco and make a deep run in this year’s NCAA Tournament. First, they will have to take care of business in rounds one and two, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin.

After head coach Augie Garrido said this team was the best since 2005, Texas has limped to a 24–24 so far this season.
Photo Credit: Joshua Guerra | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns (24–24, 9–12 Big 12) won’t return to UFCU Disch-Falk Field until next season.

Texas’ final home game this season, against Texas State, was cancelled for inclement weather, meaning the Longhorns have three guaranteed games left and a murky offseason looming on the horizon.

The Longhorns will travel to Waco to take on Baylor in their regular season series finale May 16–17, and Texas hopes it plays well enough to bolster its faltering chance of getting into the Big 12 Tournament.

If the Longhorns, who are 9–12 in Big 12 play and fifth in the conference, want to make a surprise appearance in the NCAA Tournament, the team will likely have to shock the conference and win the Big 12 Championship. That possibility is unlikely, as the Longhorns have dropped 10 games to the conference’s top four teams — TCU, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas Tech.

Despite the long odds, junior left fielder Ben Johnson and the players aren’t ready to give up yet.

“[We need to] try and win as many games as possible,” Johnson said. “If we were to win out, who knows what will happen. We just have to find a way to win games to give us a chance to find a way to get in.”

If the team doesn’t make the NCAA Tournament, it will be the third time in four years that the team has failed to advance to the postseason.

As the team faces the prospect of missing the NCAA Tournament again, some fans have raised questions about head coach Augie Garrido’s job security. Men’s athletic director Steve Patterson has already demonstrated that he isn’t afraid to take drastic action firing two of Texas’ top coaches — Mack Brown and Rick Barnes — in the last two years.

The fan base has grown tired of losing, leading to unsubstantiated rumors about Garrido’s future spread primarily on message boards. One Austin American-Statesman columnist called for Garrido to resign.

But Garrido shows no signs of quitting. Although this season has been subpar, Garrido said he feels like he can right the ship.

“I know how to fix it,” Garrido said. “But it has to start like it did last year in the fall. We really assumed and thought we had the leadership on this team as a result of how close they were and how many guys were coming back. … We didn’t work them as hard on attitude as we did with last year’s team. It’s all about attitude.”

As the offseason approaches, Johnson and junior shortstop C.J Hinojosa will have to decide whether to enter the MLB draft or return for their senior seasons. The Longhorns are already losing several starting seniors, including pitcher Parker French, second baseman Brooks Marlow and right fielder Collin Shaw.

In the face of offseason drama, Texas still has baseball to play — and the team will try, despite the odds, to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.

“We gotta comeback ready to play,” sophomore catcher Tres Barrera said. “Come back with an opening-day mindset and just fight it. We have a bunch of fighters in this locker room. We have everybody back from last year’s team, and we know what it takes to be in the College World Series.”

Although Texas has been able to rack up hits during the season, it is struggling to bring in runners in scoring position.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

In the summer of 1975, then head coach Cliff Gustafson led Texas baseball to the first of two national titles it would win under his watch. For the Longhorns program, this marked their seventh College World Series appearance in Gustafson’s first eight seasons at the helm.

But over the next three seasons, the program missed the NCAA Tournament twice, including a humbling 1978 season when the it had a 12-12 record in conference play. Texas bounced back in 1979, reaching the College World Series semifinals and would not miss the tournament field for the rest of Gustafson’s tenure. 

Similarly, in 2011, the Longhorns reached Omaha for the seventh time under head coach Augie Garrido, but they were eliminated after losing both of their games. Up to that point, Texas had been as good as any program in the nation since Garrido took over in 1997, with two National titles in the previous decade. 

The Longhorns missed the NCAA Tournament in both 2012 and 2013, dropping every series in Big 12 play in 2013. Similarly to 1979, in 2014, they bounced back from a couple seasons of frustration to reach the College World Series semi-finals. 

Texas, ranking in the top 10 in preseason polls, entered the 2015 season with high expectations as a squad capable of producing another celebration in Omaha. Instead, barring a miraculous turnaround, this team could be remembered as one of the biggest disappointments in program history. 

The Longhorns are currently in grave danger of missing the NCAA Tournament field for the third time in the past four seasons. This would make the members of the current senior class the first since the NCAA Tournament began to make fewer than two appearances during their four-year careers. 

Texas sits at 82nd in the country in RPI and are 0–9 against the RPI top 25, including sweeps at the hands of TCU this past weekend. The Longhorns pounded out 30 hits during the series and are batting .316 in their past eight games, raising their season batting average from .242 to .253. Texas also slugged at a .515 clip raising its total on the season from .361 to .391.  

During that same span the team produced at least four runs in five games, after doing so only three times in its previous 12 games. However the production of the Texas bats has not guaranteed a win, as the Longhorns are just 4–4 in the past seven games because of struggles on the mound and on defense. 

Texas’ opponents have also scored 45 runs over this time, an average of over 5.5 allowed runs per game. Of those runs, 31 of them have been earned, pushing the team’s total ERA above 3.00 for the first time since the February series against Minnesota. 

With just two conference series left in the regular season, it appears the Longhorns will be unable to build on the momentum of last season’s postseason run. Unless they win the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City, which would give them an automatic bid, the Longhorns are almost certainly going to miss the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four seasons.

The Longhorns will enter the NCAA Tournament having lost three of their last four matches.
Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Striving for its first national title in program history, No. 10 Texas men’s tennis learned its NCAA Championship seed Tuesday afternoon. 

Texas (19–6, 2–3 Big 12) will enter the tournament, which begins late next week, as the No. 9 overall seed and will face Navy in the first round at the Caswell Tennis Center in Austin. Navy posted a 20–10 record this season and entered the tournament as an automatic qualifier after claiming the Patriot League title. 

The Longhorns come into the NCAA tournament after losing three of their last four matches, with all three losses coming against teams seeded in the top five of this year’s tournament. Despite the team’s struggles, head coach Michael Center remains confident in his team’s chances.

“We lost three of those last four, but we lost to some of the best teams in the nation,” Center said. “We believe that we can compete with any team in the country, and we’ve got a senior–laden team, so I’m excited to see what we can do.”

Prior to the tournament selection, Texas’ most recent match came against No. 1 Oklahoma in the semifinals of the Big 12 Men’s Tennis Championship. The Longhorns lost by a score of 4–3, with sophomore George Goldhoff dropping the deciding match in a third-set tiebreaker. 

“I think that match really motivated us as a team,” Goldhoff said. “Obviously we were pretty devastated initially, but we’ve got two weeks now to train and practice, so we feel good about it.”

While the competition in the NCAA Tournament is undoubtedly tough, it’s nothing the Longhorns haven’t faced yet this year. Texas squared off against seven teams currently ranked in the top 20 of the ITA rankings this season, with three of those teams — No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Baylor and No. 5 TCU — coming from the Big 12. 

“We were prepared really well for the NCAA Tournament playing three teams that are contenders for the national championship in our own conference,” senior Søren Hess–Olesen said. “We know the kind of level we need to play at to win the whole thing, and our schedule has definitely helped prepare us.”

Tournament play for Texas begins May 8. If the Longhorns can defeat the Midshipmen, they will face the winner of California and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the second round.

Men’s basketball head coach Shaka Smart talks at the podium during his introductory press conference in April.

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Less than a week after Rick Barnes left the head coaching job, Texas found its program’s 24th basketball coach. Shaka Smart, who spent the last six seasons coaching at Virginia Commonwealth University, finally left the Rams after essentially rewriting the program’s history book.

Smart guided the Rams to the NCAA Tournament in each of their last five seasons, the longest streak in school history, including a trip to the 2011 Final Four — the first time the program ever advanced past the Tournament’s second weekend.

In Smart’s six seasons at the helm, the Rams won 163 games, which tied Smart with Jamie Dixon for the second-most wins of all time by a coach in their first six seasons in Division I basketball.

Smart won at least 26 games in each of his seasons at Virginia, an accomplishment that had been achieved only twice in the program’s first 37 seasons of D-I competition. And in each of those seasons, the Rams won at least 70 percent of their regular season games, despite making the leap from the Colonial Athletic Association to the Atlantic-10 Conference in the fourth year of Smart’s tenure.

Over the same six-year stretch in time, Texas won 26 or more games just once. Further, the team hasn’t hit that 70-percent win mark in the last four seasons. Over the past three seasons, VCU has also averaged a 14.75 on the Simple Rating System — which uses strength of schedules and point differential to give each team a rating of how many points above or below average they are — nearly three points higher than Texas’ 11.9.

When he transitions from coaching at a mid-major school to Texas, Smart will likely be able to achieve success — primarily by making drastic changes to Texas’ style of play.

At VCU, Smart ran his signature ‘havoc,’ full-court press defense, ranking the Rams among the top five in the nation in both steals and turnovers forced the last four seasons. In contrast, the Longhorns didn’t rank higher than 108th in steals or 150th in turnovers forced.

This past season, the VCU’s typical lineup featured no starters taller than 6-foot-6-inch, primarily playing four-guard lineups. Meanwhile, the Longhorns often started three players 6-foot-7-inch or taller. With Texas’ frontcourt depth taking a hit with senior Jonathan Holmes graduating and freshman Myles Turner declaring for the NBA draft, Texas will likely start at least three guards for the majority of the 2015–2016 season.

With a likely shift in focus to a press-based defense as well as Smart’s emphasis on the backcourt, the Longhorns will probably soon look like a totally different team than the team who played under Rick Barnes this season.

While next year’s squad may struggle a bit in adapting to the system at first, come March, the Longhorns should return to the NCAA Tournament’s second weekend for the first time since 2008.

After 17 seasons at Texas, head coach Rick Barnes’ career may have reached the end of the line.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Update: Head basketball coach Rick Barnes and Texas agreed to "part ways", according to a press release issued Sunday morning.

"I leave this job with no regrets," Barnes said in the statement. "Instead, I look back at our time here and say 'thank you' to all the players, coaches and staff who have worked with our program the last 17 years."

Barnes met with the media Sunday afternoon, where he spoke about his 17-year tenure and his departure from Texas. 

"We can talk about the programs, the wins and losses," Barnes said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about the relationships...this 17-year run here isn't about me. It's about so many people."   

The veteran head coach said he was told after Texas' loss to Butler in the NCAA Tournament that he would be returning next season, but "things changed," resulting in his departure. Reports surfaced this week that Athletic Director Steve Patterson wanted Barnes to make changes to his coaching staff, however, Barnes said Sunday he couldn't agree to that, despite several assistant coaches offering to give up their positions. 

"I couldn't do that," Barnes said. "That would be saying this is about me. I've learned and been carried by a lot of great people here. We're in this together." 

Barnes said he has no bitter feelings about his departure from the Longhorns. Texas now looks for Barnes' replacement, which the Austin American-Statesman reported will be found "within a week."

"I don't have any regrets," Barnes said. "I truly love the university of Texas and I always will...I would tell the next person to sit in my seat 'You're walking into something really, really special."

Patterson said in a statement he appreciated Barnes' hard work over his tenure.

"The University owes Rick a great deal of gratitude and respect for all he's done to put Texas on the Basketball map," Patterson said. "He elevated our program immensely and always did it with class. He put our student-athletes first. He won with integrity. We thank Rick for his many years of service to Texas and wish him continued success in the future."

For more on this story as it develops, follow @texansports on Twitter.

Original story: The Rick Barnes era at Texas has officially ended, according to multiple reports.

After weeks of speculation about Barnes’ future, Texas officials reportedly plan to release the veteran head coach Sunday or Monday, according to the Austin American-Statesman, ending a 17-year career with the Longhorns that made him the winningest basketball coach at Texas.

The news comes after multiple reports surfaced this week that said Barnes’ career at Texas was coming to an end after a 56–48 loss at the hands of Butler in the round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament. Thursday, reports said Barnes and athletic director Steve Patterson met twice to discuss the future of the basketball program. Patterson reportedly told Barnes he needed to make significant changes or risk losing his spot.

Then Friday, 247 Sports reported Barnes wouldn’t consent to the changes Patterson demanded, adding speculation to his future.

Barnes’ reported departure comes at the end of his 17th season at Texas, where he finished 20–14. After a strong 2013–2014 season and the arrival of freshman forward Myles Turner, many expected the Longhorns to make a deep postseason run and possibly decrown Kansas as the Big 12 champion.

However, despite a top-10 preseason ranking, Texas was on the bubble heading into the NCAA Tournament before scraping its way to an 11 seed. Throughout the speculation surrounding his job security, Barnes remained confident and had little to say.

Barnes, 60, has made a significant impact during his tenure with the Longhorns. After taking over a disordered program in 1998, he led Texas to 14 straight winning seasons, including three Big 12 titles. In his first 10 seasons, Barnes appeared in 10 straight NCAA Tournament games, with appearances in five Sweet 16s, three Elite Eights and a Final Four in 2003. As the winningest head coach of the program, Barnes tallied a 402–180 overall record.

But Barnes’ biggest breakdown has been his recent struggle in postseason play. Since reaching the Elite Eight in 2008, Texas has failed to make it past the round of 32, even missing the tournament in 2012. The Longhorns have also finished unranked in five of the last six seasons.

Barnes’ contract, which runs through March 2019, is currently worth $2.5 million per year. After his recent contract extension at the end of last season, he is due $1.75 million if he is fired before April 1.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Patterson plans to find Barnes’ replacement within a week. 

Photo Credit: Thalia Juarez | Daily Texan Staff

For six years, the rivalry between Texas and Nebraska on the diamond was fierce.

From 2001 to 2007, the Big 12 baseball regular season title either went to Austin or Lincoln, Nebraska. The two schools combined to win eight conference tournament titles in that stretch.

But when the last round of conference realignment commenced a few years ago, the rivalry faded. Nebraska moved to the Big Ten after the 2011 season, and Texas failed to make the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013.

As both teams climb back into the national picture — Texas made the College World Series last year and Nebraska has become a force in the Big Ten — they’ll renew the rivalry with a three-game series in Lincoln this weekend.

“I’m excited [for the rivalry] on a personal level,” Texas head coach Augie Garrido said. “It’s going to be an interesting matchup and an interesting weekend.”

Texas currently holds a slight 31–28 advantage in the series, but they haven’t always held the lead. Nebraska won four of the six meetings before the two schools joined the Big 12 and then won six series between the two from 1997 to 2006.

The Longhorns, however, have the upper hand in the latter parts of in-conference rivalry, winning four of the last five series.

Nebraska has fallen on harder times since leaving the Big 12 after the 2011 season. The Cornhuskers failed to reach the NCAA Tournament in 2012 and 2013 and lost in the Stillwater Regional in last year’s tournament.

This year, Nebraska looks to be getting back on pace. The Cornhuskers have won 11 of their last 12 games, including a series split with Cal State Fullerton and a three-game sweep of Michigan.

Nebraska senior infielder Blake Headly has led the charge offensively with a team-leading .549 slugging percentage and 23 RBIs, and senior ace Kyle Kubat has dominated on the mound with a 4–0 record and a 1.60 ERA.

“They’ve come around to build that program now to a championship-type program, and the level of competition will be really good,” Garrido said.

Texas is also coming in hot, riding a four-game winning streak, which includes a sweep of Kansas State and a come-from-behind win at Texas State on Tuesday.

The Longhorns have also drilled 18 home runs already this season and sport a .425 slugging percentage. Sophomore first baseman/catcher Tres Barrera said hitting has become contagious.

“It’s fun to see a guy like Collin Shaw, who hasn’t hit a home run in his whole career, hitting balls out of the ballpark,” Barrera said. “Zane Gurwitz, one of the smallest guys in the lineup, is hitting the ball out of the ballpark.”

Texas resumes Big 12 action with a three-game series beginning April 3 against conference contender Oklahoma State.

Head coach Rick Barnes’ record in the NCAA Tournament as a lower-seed is reason for him to worry about his future.
Photo Credit: Daulton Venglar | Daily Texan Staff

Over the course of 17 seasons, Texas men’s basketball coach Rick Barnes has amassed an extensive list of accomplishments — but that list could be longer.

Barnes has guided the Longhorns to 20 or more victories in a single season 15 times. His 402 wins nearly doubles the previous high, 208, held by former head coach Tom Penders.

But when it comes tournament time, Barnes has underachieved, especially recently.

In Barnes’ first 10 seasons, the Longhorns won three conference crowns, failing to win more than 10 conference games just once. They received 10 bids to the NCAA Tournament, averaging a 4.4 seed by the selection committee. 

In that span, Texas won 16 tournament games and made it past the first weekend five times. A vast majority of those wins and all five of Barnes’ Sweet 16 appearances occurred in a seven-season span from 2002—2008. This includes 2005’s anomalous eight seed drawing, a result of an injury to freshman forward/center LaMarcus Aldridge and sophomore forward P.J. Tucker’s academic suspension.

During those six seasons in which the Longhorns were in full force, they won 15 NCAA Tournament games, 2.34 games better than the average amount won by their seeds in the past 30 NCAA Tournaments. The team’s most successful campaigns were in 2003, 2006 and 2008, when Texas received a No. 1 seed followed by two No. 2 seeds.

However, in their other 10 NCAA Tournament appearances, the Longhorns won just four games — 4.98 wins below average based on the team’s seeding.

Those struggles are particularly evident when Texas faces “better” teams.

Barnes’ record at Texas is only 1–7 against higher seeds in the tournament, compared to 18–9 when facing lower seeded teams. 

This means a Barnes-coached squad is more likely to make a deep postseason run if they receive a top-four seed.

However, over the past seven seasons, the Longhorns have fallen short of that plateau six times, including missing the tournament entirely in 2013. Texas’ average seed over this span was an eight seed, nearly doubling the 4.4 averaged in Barnes’ first 10 seasons.

Not surprisingly, Texas underperformed to its seed, winning only three games to the 5.13 expected by its seeding. In total, Barnes has won just 21 games in 22 tournament appearances, 5.74 wins below the team’s expected wins based on seeding.

He is the most decorated coach in program history — but his pattern of consistent struggles when it mattered most could be his ultimate downfall.