<strong> Yes </strong>
Nineteen to 13. Yes, you read that correctly. The Longhorn women believe that record is enough for an NCAA bid.
You know, it’s alright to question the validity of that overall record. But for a moment, let’s disregard those 13 losses and examine.
Five of those losses were decided by nine points or less; two were decided by two points or less. In a perfect world, if Texas had won those five games instead of losing, it would be right up there with the ranks of Baylor (29-2) and Texas A&M (26-4).
But reality is, they didn’t. So why do the Longhorns deserve a bid?
Don’t take into consideration their record; instead ruminate over their overall season effort.
There is no question these Longhorns are fighters. Losing Cokie Reed before the season could have been their downfall, but they didn’t allow it to be. Both losing and winning streaks highlighted this season, but Texas never became overly confident or discouraged.
These players have heart. Their play this season has proven them championship worthy. Freshman Chassidy Fussell has been a top 10 conference scorer, and junior Ashley Gayle ranks just second behind Baylor’s Brittney Griner with blocked shots. Both their efforts can be added to the melting pot of a heartfelt season.
Granted, head coach Gail Goestenkors’ teams have made it to the tournament for 16 straight years — 13 with Duke followed by three with Texas. But the last time Texas boasted a 7-9 conference record, it still managed to slip in.
Yes, Texas did just bow out in the second-round of the Big 12 tournament after its annihilation by Texas A&M. Yes, Texas features a losing Big 12 conference record. But Texas deserves an NCAA bid for its overall body of work.
It’s up-and-down season has been marked by a fighting spirit, a spirit it shouldn’t give up on no matter what the outcome.
<em> -Alexandra Carreno </em>
<strong> No </strong>
The Big 12 is in a league of its own.
Every Big 12 coach has said it.
“The depth from top to bottom is just unmatched,” head coach Gail Goestenkors has said of the Big 12 multiple times this year, and every coach in the league agrees.
But as for that fact warranting Texas a spot in the NCAA tournament this year, Texas is the sad young lady no one wants to ask to the big dance.
At 19-13, your record means everything; it is a sad truth about sports but a truth nonetheless. So regardless of whether the losses were close or not, a loss is a loss.
Examining its out-of-conference losses signifies another hitch against Texas’s case. Texas very ambitiously scheduled No. 2 Stanford, No. 14 Michigan State and No. 4 Tennessee. The team lost all three games by an average of 15 points. One would think the known rigors of playing in the Big 12 would have prepared it for these out-of-conference games. Pointing to Texas’ difficult non-conference games would be strategic in arguing its case, but not when you’re losing by 15 points.
Fine, those teams are the cream of the crop. What about in the Big 12? Texas dropped games to teams that were far superior such as Texas A&M, Baylor and Oklahoma, but what about against teams Texas is supposed to beat?
Texas opened Big 12 play with a five-point loss to Missouri, currently the third-worst team in the league, then ended the regular season with a one-point loss to Oklahoma State, the second-worst team in the league.
To be fair, the Longhorns did have a pair of impressive victories over Texas Tech and Kansas State, but that is all they really have to boast to a selection committee that places a premium on marquee wins.
The point is that seventh-place and a 7-9 conference record in the toughest league in the country doesn’t outweigh teams in other conferences that make it a point to stay on top of their league.
The NCAA selection committee will reward teams that can positively answer the ever dreaded “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately?” question. This year, Texas doesn’t have much of an answer.
<em> -Sameer Bhuchar </em>
<strong> Yes </strong>