On a day when four Texas college basketball schools had a chance for an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament, it turns out none were able to win their respective conference title game.
Texas went 0 for 4 on Saturday and more than likely 0 for Texas for the tournament.
It went down like this.
It was probably a foregone conclusion for the Lone Star State to have a rough day, when late in the afternoon the Prairie View A&M Panthers lost by one point in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tourney final to the Southern University Jaguars from Louisiana.
Next up were two games going off at close to the same time: Houston Baptist versus Chicago State and Stephen F. Austin versus Northwestern State of Louisiana.
Things didn’t go well for the 14-17 Baptist Huskies even though they were playing a team from Chicago with a worse record. The 11-21 Cougars make the postseason in a blowout. Maybe playing the Great West tournament final in Chicago had something to do with it. Chicago State is playing postseason ball now with the unusual winning percentage of less than .350.
It would have seemed that if any Texas team was going to break through and give pride to the Lone Star State, it would have had to be the SFA Lumberjacks from Nacogdoches, Texas. They entered the Southland Conference tourney final with a stellar 27-3 record. But the Northwestern State Demons had more Conference business of their own to take care of and wouldn’t give up their small lead throughout the second half. It was a squeaker, and the team from Louisiana was on top at the end by a basket.
This left one late game chance in Vegas for the state of Texas. It was all up to the UT-Arlington Mavericks as they took on the New Mexico St. Aggies in the Western Athletic Conference title game. The end result was a disappointing, ho-hum, 64-55 loss. The Mavericks were not able to put a Conference call in for help to Dirk or other Mavericks from Texas.
At this point, it seems at-large bids are out of the question, too.
It appears no Texas team will make it into the ‘Big Dance’ because none of the schools played well enough to earn an at-large bid. None from the big conferences are expecting a bid and the schools from the small conferences know if the conference tournament is not won, no invitation is likely to be sent.
It is pretty astounding for one of the largest states in the country to get the goose egged before the tournament even starts. It’s one thing to see no Texas teams in the ‘Sweet Sixteen’, but to earn a total Tournament donut is quite incredible.
Imagine California with no teams, or Florida or North Carolina. It just seems so unlikely. To guarantee a spot, Texas should start a Conference of their own.
This is the year of parity and bad teams beating bad teams for conference championships, so expect the unexpected. Talk about March Madness, what does this all mean for the tournament coming up?
Howard Alperin is Managing Editor of AmericanizeSoccer.com