Monday, March 13, 2006
Dallas The NCAA Tournament bracket had no surprises for Big 12 Conference, only the revelation of when, where and against whom Kansas University, Texas, Oklahoma and Texas A&M will be playing.
This only was the third time the Big 12 had so few teams make the NCAA field. It also happened in 2004 and 1998. Last year, the league matched its best with six teams.
League commissioner Kevin Weiberg was hoping Colorado might also make it, but as a former member of the selection committee, he realized the chances weren't good.
"We thought a case could be made for Colorado," Weiberg said. "Overall, we're pleased with the teams that got in and the players they got in the tournament."
The seedings were consistent with last week's rankings, with Kansas' 80-68 victory over Texas in the finals of the league tournament Sunday apparently not making much of an impact. The eighth-ranked Longhorns got a No. 2 seed, and the 17th-ranked Jayhawks were seeded fourth.
"That's one of the negatives of playing the game that butts up against the selection show," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said.
Oklahoma, ranked 22nd, got a sixth seed. Unranked Texas A&M was seeded 12th.
¢ Texas (27-6) was rewarded for the best regular season in its 100-season history by getting the No. 2 seed in the Atlanta region, the group headed by Duke. The big reward for the Longhorns is opening in Dallas. They'll play 15th-seeded Pennsylvania (20-8) on Friday, with a chance to play the California-North Carolina State winner Sunday.
"We're playing in our back yard," senior guard Kenton Paulino said.
¢ Kansas (25-7) has won 15 of 16 games and avenged the only loss in that span by beating the Longhorns on Sunday. The Jayhawks will play Friday in Auburn Hills, Mich., against Bradley (20-10) and would advance to face the winner of Pittsburgh vs. Kent State. They're in the Oakland region.
"Bradley's got two guys the NBA is high on," Self said "It's a tough first-round matchup. ... They're a hot team."
¢ Oklahoma (20-8), which lost to Nebraska in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament, plays Wisconsin-Milwaukee (21-8) on Thursday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Sooners are in the Minneapolis regional and would play the winner of Florida-South Alabama if they advance.
¢ The Aggies (21-8), who lost to Texas in the Big 12 tourney semifinals, are in the field for the first time since 1987. They'll open against Syracuse (23-11), which is fresh off an impressive run to the Big East tournament championship. That game also will be Thursday in Jacksonville, with the winner going on to face the LSU-Iona winner.
A&M is in the Atlanta region, which means there's a chance for another matchup against the Longhorns. Both teams would take that now if they could, because it can't happen until the regional finals, with the winner getting a spot in the Final Four.
"I wouldn't put anything past this team right here," Aggies coach Billy Gillispie said.