Even with effort and aggressiveness on the offensive board, Texas wasn’t able to secure a date in the Sweet 16 despite winning its opening game in the NCAA Tournament.
The Longhorns took on Michigan in the round of 32 in the Midwest region of the Big Dance, but fell to the Wolverines 79-65 Saturday afternoon.
The last time these two teams met was during the 1996 NCAA Tournament, where Texas captured an 80-76 win, which was also played in Milwaukee, Wisc. However, this time Michigan dominated the first half as Texas missed its first seven shots to start the game.
The Wolverines (29-6) outplayed the Longhorns (24-11) on offense in the first frame and put up solid defense to limit Texas’ scoring.
Texas rallied on a 13-3 run midway through the second half to challenge the Wolverines, but failed to pull close enough. Despite an effort of zone and man defenses, Texas head coach Rick Barnes’ squad wasn’t able to stop the overwhelming Michigan offense, as it took an 18-point lead at one point after making continued three-point shots near the end of the game.
Freshman guard Isaiah Taylor led the Longhorns with 22 points. Junior forward Jonathan Holmes followed with nine points while the hero of Texas’ opening game, sophomore center Cameron Ridley, had just six points and grabbed nine rebounds.
The Longhorns’ season concludes with a run in the NCAA Tournament that many did not expect. Texas, which finished third in the Big 12, missed the tournament last season for the first time under Barnes, but surprised many with an exciting ride this year. Texas will return all its player next season as it tries to make another deep run into the NCAA Tournament with a more experienced team.