Nebraska tried everything they could to give away an upset of No. 3 Texas.
Up 64-53 with just 1:51 left on the clock, the Huskers allowed Texas to go on a 12-1 run in just 44 seconds. Nebraska missed free throws, they allowed two offensive rebounds on missed free throws by Texas, they turned the ball over in the back court, and they twice — twice! — fouled a Longhorn shooting a three.
And despite all that, Texas still lost 70-67 when a J’Covan Brown three bounced off the front of the rim. (I may have predicted this.)
The question that must be asked is whether or not the Longhorns still are a No. 1 seed.
Its the Longhorn’s fourth loss on the season, the most of anyone still in contention for a top seed. Its also their second loss on the road to a team that probably won’t make the NCAA Tournament. (The Longhorns lost at USC back in December.)
But they are not the only potential No. 1 seed that lost this week. Kansas lost to Kansas State on Monday, Pitt lost to St. John’s earlier Saturday, and Ohio State fell at Wisconsin a week ago. The issue, however, isn’t where Texas ranks in regards to those three teams, it is how they compare to the likes of Duke, San Diego State, and BYU.
The Aztecs have the best record out of that group, but they lost their only game against an elite team. BYU was that elite team, and while the Cougars may actually have a better case for a No. 1 seed than SDSU, they’ve also lost to New Mexico and UCLA. Duke was the consensus favorite to win the national title before Kyrie Irving was injured, and while Nolan Smith has morphed into a legitimate player of the year candidate, the Blue Devils also lack the kind of marquee wins you generally see out of a No. 1 seed.
This loss hurts the Longhorn’s case, yes, but one bad game shouldn’t erase the total dominance that Texas has shown throughout the first 11 games of the Big 12 season, just like Duke’s loss at Florida State shouldn’t take them out of consideration.
For what its worth, the discussion about who would be where in the NCAA Tournament with three weeks before Selection Sunday is fun, but its also fairly point less. Texas has four very winnable games left on their conference schedule. If they finish 15-1 in the league and win an outright Big 12 title, there is no way that they don’t get a No. 1 seed.
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.