This week the 21st Big 12 Tournament begins, and Texas is in a weird place.
For the first time ever Texas will have the lowest seed in the Big 12 Tournament after finishing last in the conference for the first time as a Big 12 member. It’s the lowest they’ve finished since a 10th-place finish in 1997-1998, the last year of Tom Penders’ run at Texas.
The Longhorns just finished their worst season since the early 1980s, and they won’t be going to the NCAA, or NIT, or CBI, or whatever else participation-trophy tournament they have these days, unless they do something they’ve never done before: win the whole thing.
Let’s recap how Texas has done in the Big 12 Tournament: Part 2
2005: Texas seed: 6
The Big 12 Tournament returned to Kansas City after a two-year stint trip in Dallas, and the Big 12 regular season crown returned to Kansas, and it has not left. The first year of Kansas’ regular season conference winning streak was actually a tie.
Second-year Kansas coach Bill Self’s team tied with Oklahoma with matching 12-4 records. However, Oklahoma beat Kansas 71-63, so Oklahoma received the top spot in the tournament.
Texas was in a transition year with freshmen LaMarcus Aldridge and Daniel Gibson along with sophomore P.J. Tucker just getting their feet wet. Texas went 20-11 and 9-7 in Big 12 play and received a sixth seed. They lost 81-69 to Colorado. Texas Tech beat Oklahoma and reached the championship game before falling to Joey Graham led Oklahoma State, 72-68.
Texas lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Nevada, 61-57. Kansas was upset by Bucknell in the first round, Oklahoma lost in the second round but it was Oklahoma State who reached the Sweet 16 and went the farthest.
2006: Texas seed: 1
For the second time Texas received the No. 1 seed at tournament after tying for the conference championship with Kansas at 13-3. Texas crushed Kansas at the Erwin Center earlier that season, 80-55, to secure the top spot for a team that would reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
But it would be the Jayhawks stealing the show as the tournament returned to Dallas. Kansas survived a tough game against Oklahoma State (63-62), then blew by Nebraska, 79-65, to reach the title game against Texas.
The Longhorns beat Texas Tech 77-70 then had a barn-burner of a game against up-start Texas A&M, 74-70. In the championship game, Kansas bounced back against Texas as freshman Mario Chalmers won tournament MVP and Kansas won 80-68.
Texas had the last laugh as this would be the last game Kansas would win this season as they lost to Bradley in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Texas meanwhile beat Pennsylvania, North Carolina State and hit a buzzer-beater against West Virginia to reach the Elite Eight. LSU ended Texas season there as Big Baby Glen Davis and the Tigers won in overtime, 70-60.
2007: Texas seed: 3
A terrific Big 12 basketball season that featured Kevin Durant at Texas, Acie Law at Texas A&M and several NBA first round picks at Kansas. Bob Huggins even made his Big 12 debut during his one-year stint at Kansas State. All this and Bob Knight was still the coach at Texas Tech. The Big 12 sent four teams to the NCAA Tournament and Durant was the runaway winner of National Player of the Year.
With the tournament being played in Oklahoma City for the first time, Kansas won the tournament, but Durant’s star overshadowed everything. His performance earlier in the season in Allen Fieldhouse masked a 90-86 Texas loss that ended the regular season.
A week later, the two schools would meet in what would be the best Big 12 Championship Game to date.
The Longhorns beat Baylor and Oklahoma State to reach the title game (Oklahoma State upset Texas A&M) and Kansas crushed Oklahoma and survived Kansas State as the rematch was set.
Texas led 39-34 at halftime and even led Kansas 32-10 at one point. Kansas continued to make its comeback and took the lead in the second half, but Texas responded and the teams would trade leads the rest of the game. Chalmers’ 3-pointer with 15 seconds left tied the game and for the first time in tournament history, the championship game went into overtime.
Kansas completed the largest comeback in program history, beating the Longhorns 88-84 despite 37 points from Durant.
Durant was so good that he is the only player in Big 12 Tournament history to be named the MVP and not lead his team to a tourney title.
Kansas reached the Elite Eight that season, snapping a two-year losing streak in the first round. Texas (25-10) lost in the second round to Southern California, 87-68.
2008: Texas seed: 1
Possibly the greatest year of basketball in Big 12 history as six teams made the NCAA tournament, two teams reached the Elite Eight and Kansas won the Big 12’s first NCAA National Championship.
Texas and Kansas tied for the conference title with D.J. Augustin leading the Longhorns. Texas beat the Jayhawks at the Erwin Center 72-69, which was rare since Kansas (who would be the top overall 1 seed) went 37-3 that season.
Back in Kansas City for the tournament, Texas beat Oklahoma State, walloped a Blake Griffin-led Oklahoma team 77-49 and reached the title game. Kansas beat Nebraska and Texas A&M and met the Longhorns in the title game.
Texas led 46-45 at halftime but Kansas shutdown the Longhorns in the second half, outscoring No. 6 Texas 39-28 in the period to secure the win. Brandon Rush was named the tournament MVP and Kansas won the tournament for the third year in a row and the sixth time in 11 seasons.
Texas lost to Memphis in the Elite Eight 85-67, beating Stanford 82-62 in the Sweet 16 to reach the regional final. Kansas would beat Memphis in overtime to claim the conference’s first men’s basketball title.
2009: Texas seed: 5
Texas and Kansas saw the bulk of their previous three rosters move to the NBA or graduate and it allowed the other teams to catch up with the programs — just a bit.
Kansas reloaded with one of the best recruiting classes in the Big 12 and would win the league outright in large part to Griffin missing several games for Oklahoma because of a concussion. Texas went 23-12 and 9-7 in league play with a fifth-place finish. A.J. Abrams and Damion James were two of the standouts for Texas.
Kansas was upset by Baylor in the second round, which kind of started the Scott Drew-Baylor emergence. Baylor was the ninth seed and it’s 71-64 win over Kansas thwarted a fourth straight meeting between Kansas and Texas in the tournament. Baylor beat Texas 76-70 to reach the conference title game for the first time ever.
The biggest upset that happened in Oklahoma City was on the other side of the bracket. Oklahoma State, led by first-year coach Travis Ford, beat the heavy favorite to win the tournament, Oklahoma, 71-70. Griffin was the Big 12 Player of the Year and Oklahoma was ranked No.6 in the country.
It opened the door for another upstart program, Missouri, who under coach Mike Anderson was ranked No. 14 in the country and led by eventual tournament MVP DeMarre Carroll. The “40 minutes of hell” strategy that Mizzou used worked, and they beat Cinderella Baylor 73-60 in the title game.
Texas lost to Duke 74-69 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Kansas the Sweet 16 and Missouri and Oklahoma both reached the Elite Eight. Baylor reached the NIT Championship Game.
2010: Texas seed: 6
In mid-January, Texas spent two weeks ranked No. 1 in the country. It’s the last time the program has been ranked No. 1.
Loaded with Avery Bradley, J’Covan Brown, Damion James, Dougus Balbay, Jordan Hamilton and Dexter Pittman, Texas had a solid group. But Texas lost eight times after being ranked No. 1, including a 92-77 loss at Baylor to end the season, it was the second of three times Baylor would beat the Longhorns this season.
The tournament returned to Kansas City and its been there ever since. Kansas City’s Sprint Center, formally known as Kemper Arena, will host the tournament for the foreseeable future.
Kansas spent most the season ranked No. 1 nationally and wound up finishing the year 33-3 and the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after going 15-1 in conference play, tied for the second-best finish in conference play history. The upstart team in the Big 12 was Kansas State under coach Frank Martin. The Wildcats finished second in league play.
Texas beat 11-seed Iowa State then lost to Baylor for the third time, 86-67, in the second round. Kansas beat Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Kansas State en route to the Jayhawks’ seventh Big 12 tournament win. Sherron Collins, who lost to Oklahoma State’s James Anderson for Big 12 Player of the Year honors, won tournament MVP.
Wake Forest hit a last-second shot to knock Texas out of the tournament. Kansas also lost in the first weekend as Northern Iowa completed one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Baylor reached the Elite Eight for the first time under Drew and for the first time in 60 years.
2011: Texas seed: 2
Texas returned to Big 12 Tournament relevance with the second seed in 2011 as Cory Joseph and Tristan Thompson arrived from Canada to join Balbay, Hamilton, Brown and Gary Johnson. Texas went 28-8 and 13-3 in Big 12 play. Kansas won the league and was the tournament’s top seed. Texas beat its two biggest rivals, Texas A&M and Oklahoma on its way to the championship game while Kansas nearly lost its tourney opener to Oklahoma State before beating Colorado.
The No .2-ranked Jayhawks met the No. 10-ranked Longhorns in the title game and it was all Jayhawks. Kansas, led by Big 12 Player of the Year and Big 12 tournament MVP Marcus Morris beat the Longhorns 85-73 in the final game. Kansas would go on to lose in the Elite Eight to Virginia Commonwealth, coached by Shaka Smart. The win would make Smart one of the hottest coaches in country and he eventually left VCU to take the Texas job in 2015.
Texas lost to Arizona in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
2012: Texas seed: 6
Thompson and Joseph left for the NBA, but Brown was the star on a team that featured six freshmen on the roster. Despite the youth, Texas went 20-14 and 9-9 in the Big 12 and made the NCAA Tournament. Top seeded Kansas, with Big 12 Player of the Year Thomas Robinson, lost to No. 4 seed Baylor in the semifinals, 81-72. The win put the Bears in the tournament title game.
On the other side of the bracket, Texas upset No. 3 seed Iowa State, who under coach Fred Hoiberg was starting to turn the corner. Texas met No. 2-seed Missouri in the semifinals and the Tigers, playing in their final Big 12 tournament before moving to the SEC, knocked out Texas 89-75, then ended Baylor’s championship hopes with a 90-75 win. Kim English was named the tournament MVP.
Missouri entered the tournament as a No. 2 seed but was shockingly upset by Norfolk State in the first round. Texas also lost its first game to Cincinnati in the tournament. Baylor returned to the Elite Eight, while Kansas, salvaged the Big 12 tournament performance by beating North Carolina in the Elite Eight to advance to the Final Four. Kansas reached the National Championship Game, losing to Kentucky.
2013: Texas seed: 7
The first season of the Big 12’s new 10-team format, some could wonder why it’s even necessary to hold a conference tournament with the regular season’s round robin format. But why would you want to end all the fun?
Texas suffered its first losing season under Rick Barnes in 2012-2013. The Longhorns finished 16-18 and went 7-11 in Big 12 play. Texas entered the Big 12 Tournament with a .500 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance doubtful. After beating last place TCU 70-57 in the first round, Texas met up with Kansas State. Under new coach Bruce Weber, the Wildcats tied the Jayhawks for the conference title and were the No. 2 seed (Kansas beat Kansas State twice in the regular season).
Kansas State beat Texas 66-49 in the second round and followed it with an 11-point over Oklahoma State. Kansas knocked out Iowa State 88-73 to meet up with Kansas State for the second time in the Big 12 tournament final. Kansas won 70-54 and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Jeff Withey was named tournament MVP.
Texas went to the College Basketball Invitational, which is a step below the NIT. Kansas State lost in the first round of the tournament in Kansas City. Kansas reached the Sweet 16.
2014: Texas seed: 3
A bounce back season for Texas with Jonathan Holmes and Isaiah Taylor emerging as standouts for Texas, the Longhorns went from 16-18 to 22-9 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Baylor made the biggest Big 12 Tournament push, starting out as the seventh-seed and reaching the tournament final. Baylor beat TCU, Oklahoma and in the tournament semifinal, beat Texas 86-69.
Fourth seeded Iowa State knocked off Kansas State, top seeded Kansas and met with Baylor. The Cyclones won the tournament with a 74-65 win over Baylor. DeAndre Kane was named Big 12 Tournament MVP.
The Cyclones used the momentum to make the Sweet 16, along with Baylor. Kansas lost in the second round, while Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Kansas State lost in the first round. Texas lost 79-65 in the second round to Michigan.
2015: Texas seed: 7
The last Big 12 Tournament that featured Barnes at Texas. The Longhorns actually made the tournament, but with Myles Turner signing with the program and most of the roster from the strong season in 2014 returning, expectations for Texas were through the roof. Texas stumble at times though and went 8-10 in the Big 12 and would finish the year 20-14.
Texas beat Texas Tech 65-53 to start the tournament and nearly upset No. 2 seed Iowa State 69-67. This was one of the best games of the tournament as Texas led by as many as 16 points, but saw Iowa State stage a furious rally that ended with a buzzer-beating shot by Monte Morris to seal the win.
Iowa State did that several times during the tournament. The Cyclones trailed top-seed Kansas at halftime of the title game by double-digits but came back to beat Kansas 70-66 to claim a second-straight Bog 12 Tournament title. Georges Niang was the tournament MVP.
Texas fans had pretty much made a decision on coach Rick Barnes. Once Butler beat the Longhorns in the first round of the tournament, 56-48, it wasn’t long after that Barnes was out at Texas.
But this wound up not being the best Big 12 showing after the tournament. Kansas lost to Wichita State in the second round, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Iowa State lost their opening game. Oklahoma and West Virginia did reach the Sweet 16.
2016: Texas seed: 4
Shaka Smart’s first season at Texas yielded a quality result with Texas overcoming an injury to senior Cameron Ridley and a bench that consisted of mostly freshmen. Texas went 11-7 in the Big 12, which once again received the label of “most competitive” league in the nation.
Kansas entered the week as the nation’s No. 1 team, and Oklahoma, with National Player of the Year Buddy Hield, still had a chance to earn a No. 1 seed. West Virginia and the senior-laden Iowa State team all had some tournament buzz.
Texas started the tournament with Baylor, and the Bears knocked out Texas early. Baylor’s reward was playing Kansas, and the Bears nearly beat Kansas, but the Jayhawks survived and won 70-66. West Virginia had to deal with Hield and Oklahoma after thrashing TCU in the second round, but overcame it to advance.
The Mountaineers won and set up a Kansas- West Virginia final. Kansas sophomore Devonte Graham had a breakout tournament and a big game against West Virginia. Kansas beat West Virginia 81-71 and Graham was the tournament MVP.
Texas lost in horrific March Madness fashion as Northern Iowa nailed a half court shot to beat the Longhorns.
Baylor couldn’t rebound against Yale, West Virginia was stunned in the first round, Texas Tech lost its first game also as the Big 12 had one of the worst first round showings of any conference. Saving the month was Oklahoma, Kansas and Iowa State who all advanced to the second weekend. Kansas lost to eventual champion Villanova in the Elite Eight, while Oklahoma represented the conference in the Final Four before falling to Villanova.
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