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Texas No. 3 seed in East region of NCAA Tournament, will face Abilene Christian



ABILENE, TX— The Texas Longhorns are back in the NCAA Tournament with their best seed in over 10 years.

Texas (19-7, 11-6 in Big 12) will be the No. 3 seed in the East region, facing Abilene Christian in the first round on Saturday. The entire 2021 NCAA Tournament will be played throughout the state of Indiana — a one-year adjustment due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Texas-ACU matchup will tipoff Saturday night at 8:50pm on Tru TV from Lucas Oil Arena.

Shaka Smart is taking the Longhorns to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in his six-year tenure. Texas lost in the first round in both 2016 and 2018 to Northern Iowa and Nevada respectively. The 2020 tournament was canceled just days before Selection Sunday due to the pandemic.

Texas is a top four seed in the bracket for just the seventh time since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985. The Longhorns have only missed the tournament five times in the last 30 years (1993, 1998, 2013, 2017 and 2019).

Despite a three-game losing streak in February, the Longhorns responded to finish with a flurry, winning six of their last eight regular season games, including three straight on the road against Iowa State, Oklahoma and TCU. They capped things off by winning the first Big 12 Tournament championship in program history on Saturday with a 91-86 win over Oklahoma State. Texas became the first team from the Lone Star State to win the conference tournament.

Why Texas could make a run

Guard play is key come tournament time. Veteran guards Matt Coleman, Andrew Jones and Courtney Ramey have accounted for more than 54% of Texas’ scoring output this season. Add in the outside threat of Jase Febres and there’s reason for optimism as Texas heads to the tournament.

Looking ahead in the East Region

If the Longhorns defeat Abilene Christian, one of three teams await in the second round. BYU is the No. 6 seed and will play the winner of a First Four matchup between No. 11 seeds Michigan State and UCLA.

Alabama is the No. 2 seed in the lower half of the East Region. They would potentially await in the Longhorns in the Sweet 16. Michigan is the No. 1 seed in the East Region, but Texas would avoid the Wolverines until the Elite Eight.