AUSTIN (AP) – Texas has no teams in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1977.
When the 68-team field was announced Sunday, the Lone Star State was completely shut out. There were no Longhorns, Baylor Bears, Texas A&M Aggies, Red Raiders or Owls.
And not even any Lumberjacks. Southland Conference regular-season champion Stephen F. Austin (27-4) lost its league tournament championship game and didn’t get an at-large NCAA berth, and instead had to settle for a first-round NIT game at Stanford on Tuesday night.
Baylor (18-14), the NIT runner-up four years ago before two NCAA regional finals the previous three seasons, also made the 32-team NIT field. The Bears host a first-round game against Long Beach State (19-13) on Wednesday night.
Prairie View (Southwestern Athletic Conference) and Texas-Arlington (WAC) also made it to their conference tournament championship games, but both also lost Saturday with automatic NCAA berths on the line.
Only three years ago, Texas matched an NCAA record by sending seven teams to the tournament, and had sent at least three teams each of the last six years. Texas also holds the record for most schools that have appeared in the tournament (23).
This March, the only NCAA men’s tournament action in Texas will be games played in the state.
Second- and third-round games will be played this week on the University of Texas campus in Austin. The South Regional final will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Texas.
Texas (16-17) had been one of only six schools to play in the NCAA tournament each of the previous 14 years, and needed the Big 12’s automatic berth to keep their streak alive. But the Longhorns lost 66-49 to 11th-ranked Kansas State in their first conference tourney game.
The Longhorns went to the Final Four in 2003, and made it to regional finals in 2006 and 2008.
Baylor had boosted its status for a potential at-large berth with an 81-58 victory over Big 12 champion Kansas in the regular-season finale and went to the Big 12 tourney as the No. 3 seed.
But the Bears fell behind by 20 in their opener against Oklahoma State before tying the game in the final minute. The Cowboys then made two go-ahead free throws before Pierre Jackson’s attempted 3-pointer at the buzzer hit off the back of the rim.
Stephen F. Austin lost 68-66 to Northwestern State in the Southland Conference tournament final Saturday, the second time this season the team from Louisiana beat the Lumberjacks, who led the nation allowing only 50 points a game.
Prairie View (15-19) scored the last six points in the SWAC tournament final, but lost 45-44 to Southern University. Texas-Arlington (19-13) lost 64-55 to New Mexico State in the WAC championship game.
Texas A&M (18-15) completed its first SEC season by shooting a season-low 24 percent in a 62-50 SEC tourney loss to former Big 12 rival Missouri.
SMU (15-17) finished its first season with Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown and last in Conference USA by losing 16 of its last 23 games.
TCU (11-21) made its Big 12 debut with new coach Trent Johnson, and its only conference wins were against Kansas and Oklahoma. Texas Tech (11-20) played this season under interim coach Chris Walker, who got that role in October, shortly before the start of the season, when Billy Gillispie abruptly resigned.
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