Posted by Ryan Clark at 1:19PM

Just hours before the 2012 NCAA bracket is finally revealed, St. Bonaventure has become the first and only bid thief of the year, stealing the final at-large slot in the Big Dance and sending one mystery team into the NIT field. A week ago, a development like that might have been terrifying for fans of the Texas Longhorns. But after a week in which in appeared that nobody wanted to win and punch their ticket, the Horns look to be safely in the field as the clock counts down towards the Selection Show.

It now appears most likely that Texas will be an 11-seed in the NCAA field, but with teams being moved up and down one line to accommodate bracketing rules, we could see the Longhorns as high as 10th or as low as 12th. Perhaps most importantly, it seems like Texas has played its way right past the First Four in Dayton, giving a young and thin roster a little more rest before playing on Thursday or Friday.

Of course, it’s been a crazy year, and the profiles at the bottom all start to look the same after a few minutes of staring at them. The committee could come out of left field and leave a team out that most have thought was safe all along. But when you compare Texas’ four RPI Top 50 wins to other bubble teams, it would be hard to find enough teams that could reasonably be included before the Longhorns.

With that in mind, we’re taking a look at where the Longhorns might end up. What’s important to remember when looking at potential landing spots is that the top four seeds are geographically protected as much as possible, while teams from the same conference can’t be put in the same pod. If Texas is an 11-seed or 12-seed, they will end up in a pod with the 3/14 and 6/11 games or a pod with the 4/13 and 5/12 games.

What all that means is that the Longhorns won’t be making any hotel reservations in Omaha. Missouri and Kansas will be protected seeds and should both land in Nebraska for their second and third round action, ruling that out as a destination for Texas. It also most likely eliminates Greensboro, as Duke and North Carolina should be the protected seeds for that site, and both look to be on the top two seed lines. Unless Texas is slid up to a 10-seed, they wouldn’t be able to play in the Greensboro pods.

The other teams that should be on the top two seed lines are Syracuse, Kentucky, Ohio State, and Michigan State. The Buckeyes aren’t allowed to play in the Columbus pods, so their most likely destination is Pittsburgh. That’s certainly where Syracuse will end up, so we can scratch the Steel City off of the list of possible Texas destinations, as well. Kentucky will take up one of the two Louisville pods, while Michigan State should get sent to Columbus.

The only other pod that we can safely eliminate from consideration at this point is one of the two in Albuquerque. Baylor is likely destined for a 3-seed, and although Albuquerque is only about 50 miles closer to Waco than Nashville, there are certainly more top seeds in the eastern half of the U.S. Somebody has to go to the Albuquerque and Portland pods, so it just makes the most sense to put Baylor there.

What we’re left with, then, are seven possible pods for the Longhorns: Two in Portland, two in Nashville, one in Albuquerque, one in Columbus, and one in Louisville. Of course, all of this deduction is thrown out the window if the committee surprises us and puts Texas on the 10-seed line.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 12:29PM

After Saturday’s loss to OU, the Longhorns dropped to 14th in both major polls. The Jayhawks maintained their comfortable hold on the No. 1 ranking heading into tonight’s game, while Kansas State moved up to 9th in both polls. Baylor is 25th in the Associated Press rankings, but fell into the “Others Receiving Votes” category in the Coaches Poll. A&M, meanwhile, is on the cusp of both polls, with only Saturday’s road game at Tech standing between them and a ranking next Monday.

Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology slots Texas as a 3-seed in the Salt Lake City regional, where Villanova is projected as the 1-seed. Lunardi has the Horns in New Orleans, with a potential second-round match-up against Georgia Tech and freshman phenom Derrick Favors. Interestingly enough, in this hypothetical bracket, a potential rematch with Michigan State could await Texas in the Sweet 16.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:11PM

Texas slid to sixth in both polls this afternoon following back-to-back losses on the road. The Kentucky Wildcats ascended to the top spot as the nation’s lone undefeated team, while Kansas moved up to second in both rankings.

The K-State Wildcats took a slight dip after a home loss to Oklahoma State, even though they were the first team to knock off Texas with a Big Monday victory earlier in the week. KSU is 11th in the media poll and is ranked 13th by coaches. Baylor is the only other Big 12 representative, checking in at 24th in the Associated Press rankings, although Texas A&M, Missouri, and Oklahoma State all received votes in both polls.

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The Longhorns also took a dive in Joe Lunardi’s latest Bracketology, sliding to the 2-seed line in the Salt Lake City regional. In Lunardi’s mock bracket, Texas is paired with 1-seed Syracuse, an absolute nightmare match-up for a Longhorn team that is paralyzed by zone defenses.

The Jayhawks maintained their hold on a 1-seed, but were moved to the Houston regional that the Longhorns vacated. Lunardi awarded five other bids to the Big 12, putting K-State (3-seed), Baylor (5), Missouri (8), A&M (9), and Oklahoma State (11) in the mix.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 3:21PM

It’s the first Monday in March, which means that the power begins to shift from the pollsters and over to the bracketologists. We’ve still got your weekly rundown of both, but you can be certain that fans of teams on the cusp of the polls are just a teeeeensy bit more concerned about the various bubble watches floating around the internet. On to the goodies……

Following Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma State, the Longhorns slipped from both major polls this week, falling into the “others receiving votes” category. Oklahoma slid only a few spots after their Griffin-less loss to Kansas on Monday night, checking in at 4th with the AP and 5th with the writers. The Jayhawks benefitted from that victory and their blowout win over Missouri yesterday, jumping to 9th in both polls. The Tigers slid to 12th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll, while the much more vengeful Associated Press shipped them all the way to 15th for their deer-in-the-headlights performance at Allen Fieldhouse. Oklahoma State also grabbed a slight bit of attention from the AP, earning two points in this week’s poll for their five-game winning streak.

For once, the resident bracketologists at Sports Illustrated and ESPN agree on the Longhorns…sort of. Andy Glockner seeds the Longhorns 9th, facing off against Utah, while Joe Lunardi pegs Texas an 8, taking on UNLV. The common ground for the two men? A trip to Dayton for this first weekend, which sits just fine with this basketball traveler, who is strongly pulling for a Friday/Sunday pod that doesn’t involve the fabulous March weather of Minneapolis. For a complete list of the tournament sites this year, click on over to my favorite Wiki.

The folks assigned to watching the bubble are also in agreement that the Longhorns really just need to win tonight to seal up their tournament bid. Both Andy Glockner of SI.com and Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com think Texas should be in. But like any good college basketball fans would know, Andy and Mark are fully aware that this schizophrenic Longhorn team could just as easily lose their last two regular season games, lay a turd in the Big 12 Tournament, and be sweating things out on Selection Sunday. For the sake of my heart and currently-forming ulcers, this doomsday scenario would be best left on the table.

This week’s consensus blogpoll at CBS Sportsline follows the lead of the major polls, with UConn ascending to the top spot. For the second straight week, our ballot was dubbed “Mr. Numb Existence” for being the one amongst the 42 submitted which most closely approximated the consensus poll. We’re not sure if that’s some sort of sign that we watch too much basketball, but we’ll take it as a compliment. Be sure to check out the link in this paragraph to not only see the rankings, but to get all of the great analysis by Jerry Hinnen of the Auburn blog The Joe Cribbs Car Wash.

Posted by Ryan Clark at 1:11PM

Texas has climbed back into the rankings as a result of Saturday’s upset of Oklahoma, who was ranked No. 2 nationally at the time. The Longhorns are now 24th according to the coaches and 25th according to the writers. The Sooners slid only one slot after the loss, checking in at No. 3, while Missouri cracked the top ten in the ESPN/USA Today rankings at eighth. Kansas held serve with a pair of wins this week, and the Jayhawks were rewarded with the 15th slot in both polls.

The seed line improved for the Longhorns as well, according to ESPN’s bracketologist Joe Lunardi. He has Texas slotted as a 6-seed, playing in Minneapolis to open the tournament. This is a marked improvement for Texas, which was sitting in the dreaded 8/9 game as of last week’s update. Should Texas take care of business and finish 3-1 in league play, one can only assume that they’ll hold steady as a 6-seed in this year’s remarkably weak field.

Andy Glockner of SI.com was less impressed with the win, leaving Texas as a 9-seed in Greensboro. It’s safe to say that the potential of playing North Carolina in a second round game in their own backyard would be a nightmare scenario.

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