A look at the teams in Texas' portion of the Midwest regional of the NCAA Tournament

Joe Cookby:Joe Cook03/18/24


The Texas Longhorns learned on Sunday night they earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament in the Midwest region and will face the winner of a First Four matchup between Virginia and Colorado State.

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Should Texas reach the second round, the winner of a game between Tennessee and St. Peter’s awaits them.

What do all four of the teams in the Longhorns’ portion of the bracket bring to the table?

No. 10 – Virginia Cavaliers

Record: 23-10 (13-7, 3rd in the Atlantic Coast Conference)

Head coach: Tony Bennett

Last Tournament appearance: 2023, first round loss to No. 13 Furman (68-67)

Leading scorer: Reece Beekman, 14.3 ppg

Leading rebounder: Ryan Dunn, 7.0 rpg

NET ranking: No. 54 (2-7 in Quadrant 1 games)

KenPom ranking: No. 69

Despite a third place finish in the ACC, Virginia snuck into the field via the First Four. The Cavaliers have not won a NCAA Tournament game since winning the national title in 2019, losing in the first round in 2021 and 2023. UVA plays slower than anyone in Division I according to KenPom, ranking 362 out of 362 in Adjusted Tempo. Aside from Beekman, Isaac McKneely is the only other Hoo to average more than 10 points per game.

No. 10 – Colorado State Rams

Record: 24-10 (10-8, 6th in the Mountain West)

Head coach: Niko Medved

Last Tournament appearance: 2022, first-round loss to No. 11 Michigan (75-63)

Leading scorer: Isaiah Stevens, 16.5 ppg

Leading rebounder: Nique Clifford, 7.5 rpg

NET ranking: No. 36 (6-7 in Quadrant 1 games)

KenPom ranking: No. 38

A balanced team in the top 45 of adjusted offense and defense in KenPom, the Rams are lead by an Allen (Texas) product in Stevens. CSU scores just over 76 points per game and allows just under 69 per game, both within the top 100 of the NCAA rankings. Colorado State advanced to the semifinals of the Mountain West Tournament before falling to eventual league champ New Mexico. Six teams from the MWC made the field of 68.

No. 2 – Tennessee Volunteers

Record: 24-8 (14-4, 1st in the Southeastern Conference)

Head coach: Rick Barnes

Last Tournament appearance: 2023, Sweet 16. Bowed out with a regional semifinal loss to No. 9 FAU (62-55)

Leading scorer: Dalton Knecht, 21.1 ppg

Leading rebounder: Jonas Aidoo, 7.7 rpg

NET ranking: No. 7 (8-7 in Quadrant 1 games)

KenPom ranking: No. 7

Led by an All-American candidate in Knecht, the SEC regular season champion Volunteers might be the best team Barnes has fielded since he left the 40 Acres for Rocky Top. Along with Knecht, contributions from Aidoo and the returning Zakai Zeigler plus the always intense Barnes defense has Tennessee among the top contenders for the national championship.

No. 15 – St. Peter’s Peacocks

Record: 19-13 (12-9, 3rd in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference)

Head coach: Bashir Mason

Last Tournament appearance: 2022, Elite Eight. Bowed out with a regional final loss to No. 8 North Carolina (69-49)

Leading scorer: Corey Washington, 16.5 ppg

Leading rebounder: Corey Washington, 6.6 rpg

NET ranking: No. 188 (0-1 in Quadrant 1 games)

KenPom ranking: No. 187

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The Peacocks became the first No. 15 seed in NCAA Tournament history to reach the Elite Eight in 2022 thanks to wins over Kentucky, Murray State, and Purdue. The MAAC champion representing a tiny Catholic college in Jersey City, N.J. looks to make a second historic run after knocking off the No. 4, No. 1, and No. 2 teams in the MAAC to make it to the field. Washington earned MAAC All-Championship MVP honors and has scored 20 points on 10 different occasions.

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