They nearly met last year in the NCAA Round of 32. Now, Memphis and Texas each finds itself amongst a group of teams fighting for their NCAA tournament lives.
At this time last year, Texas was still dominating the Big 12 and looked like a serious Final Four candidate. However, a few late-season losses dropped the Longhorns to a No. 4 seed and created a tough Round-of-32 matchup with Arizona. A one-point loss to the Wildcats ended Texas’ season at least a week earlier than expected.
As for Memphis, it needed a run in the Conference USA Tournament to get back to the NCAAs after missing the tournament in 2010. After finishing just 10-6 in league play—historically not nearly a good enough record to earn an at-large bid—Memphis beat UTEP on their home floor in the C-USA Championship to steal the automatic bid.
UTEP got a bit of revenge this weekend for its loss to Memphis last March. The Miners beat Memphis on their home court, 60-58. Meanwhile, Texas is also coming off a home loss. The Longhorns were defeated by Baylor, 75-70, after holding a double-digit lead in the second half.
The losses by each have made them quite vulnerable NCAA bubble teams.
Which of the two teams is more likely to make it back to the tourney in 2012? Here’s a look at the case for and against each team, including the records and RPI/SOS rankings of each listed below.
Memphis: 20-8 overall, 10-3 C-USA; RPI 27, SOS 24
Texas: 17-11 overall, 7-8 Big 12; RPI 55, SOS 17
Common Opponents: Rice (both won)
RPI information from realtimerpi.com, updated Feb. 23