The men’s basketball program at the University of Texas has been on a winning streak lately. That is, until last night.
The streak is over – and so is the team's season – after a 66 to 49 loss to Kansas State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament.
When the game’s final horn sounded at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, it signaled the end of 14 straight years the Texas Longhorns made the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Kansas State defeated the Horns for the third time this season, but the biggest letdown is what will happen next week.
When 68 teams are announced on Selection Sunday, the Longhorns won’t be one of them, for the first time in the Rick Barnes coaching era.
“I think people act like it’s easy to get there,” Barnes said. “I don’t think it’s easy to get there and we’ve had some times we knew we were in. Other times we had to sweat it out. Other times we had to play it out. I’ve always said that’s got to be the goal: You’ve got to get there to play for a national championship, but I’ve never taken it for granted.”
Only Kansas, Duke and Michigan State have longer active streaks. Theirs will be extended further when the brackets come out. But not only will the Longhorns miss what is referred to as “The Big Dance,” they ended the season with a 16-17 record, the first losing record in Barnes’ tenure.
“Am I disappointed?” Barnes asked. “I’m disappointed, but you know what? We are who we are. We weren’t good. We weren’t good enough to make the NCAA tournament this year.”
Predominantly made up of freshmen and sophomores, the Longhorns fell into a rut in the beginning of the Big 12 season when they lost their first five conference games. The Horns’ seventh seed in this year’s Big 12 tournament, was another low in the Barnes coaching era at Texas.