The Longhorns lived to play another day. The Aggies did not.
That's why it's called March Madness, I guess. To be fair, though A&M was technically upset by No. 10 seed Florida State, that game was much more similar to the 8-9 pairing that acts as a toss-up.
Ask Texas head coach Rick Barnes how much those seeds mean. His team barely held off a fiesty Oakland team before falling to No. 5 seed Arizona on Sunday. Looking back on his season, Barnes probably has more regrets than he'd like right now, as his team played like the best in the country for much of the season.
However, they just couldn't stop anyone after the middle of February. Even Oakland scored 70 points against what used to be a stingy Longhorn defense. Arizona consistently attacked the middle of Texas' defense and was able to maintain a pretty good lead. With about five minutes to go, Arizona had hit 11 of 15 shots in the second half. On the crucial play with 12 seconds left, Arizona forward Derrick Williams was able to break free, catching a bounce pass as he ran towards the basket for the layup and foul.
The last seven or eight minutes of that games turned into a shootout, but Texas' man defense couldn't stop Arizona from penetrating. That could pose a problem next year, as Texas will lose senior post Gary Johnson to graduation. Texas has signed San Antonio power forward Jonathan Holmes for next season. The 6-foot-7, 238 pound senior is a four-star recruit according to Rivals and will need to help Tristan Thompson shore up the inside for the Longhorns.
When head coach Mark Turgeon looks back on the 2010-2011 season, he'll have to see a team that overachieved from its true talent level. The Aggies finished third in the Big 12, despite not having an elite player who could take over a game and only one player on the first or second Big 12 teams (Khris Middleton).
Against Florida State, the Aggies desperately needed a player who could create on his own and hit mid-range shots or finish strong at the rim. Instead, this team tried hoisting layups and lazy shots around the post that a tough, tough Seminole defense consistently swatted away. Every time an Aggie drove to the rim, they were denied and many times couldn't even get a shot off.
Will Turgeon be able to get that star player next season? That remains to be seen. Middleton will be a junior, but doesn't seem as comfortable with the ball in his hands. If the Aggies want to make a deep playoff run, they need a big-time player that just doesn't exist on their roster right now.