NASHVILLE — Shaka Smart’s Texas squad played the game it wanted to through the first 20 minutes of its first round matchup against 7th seed Nevada.
The second half and overtime played to the Wolfpack’s style, and that allowed them to erase a 14-point deficit to win in overtime, 87-83.
Augie Garrido was a giant in the college baseball world. He could have made himself bigger than the game. He had every right to as well. Fifteen trips to Omaha, eight while head coach of the Texas Longhorns, five total College World Series championships, twenty conference championships, and the all-time leader in wins.
He didn’t, and that’s what made him even more special.
Shaka Smart touched on a lot of topics after his Longhorns made the field of 68. Here’s what he had to say.
After a promising start from a promising arm on Thursday, Texas never came back with the same quality of play on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday against Stanford. In fact, they weren’t even close.
AUSTIN — In game two against Stanford, the Texas Longhorns had another chance to prove they could match the strong arms the Cardinals sent to the mound. They even had their own ace, junior Nolan Kingham, on the hill against Kris Bubic.
Heading into the first of four games between Stanford and Texas, the only advantage the Longhorns appeared to have was that the games were to be held in Austin. Pre-season All-American Tristan Beck took the mound for the Cardinal opposite true freshman Nico O’Donnell in just his third appearance. Stanford also carried a consensus top eight ranking and a strong 11-1 record compared to Texas’ consensus top 20 ranking and 8-4 mark.
AUSTIN — In the early stages of the season, Texas head coach David Pierce and his players have repeated the benefit of playing a difficult non-conference schedule. They know while the games present a high risk of defeat, they also help prepare a forming Longhorns team for the quality of opponent they plan to see in the postseason. Top-10 Stanford, who visits Austin for a four game series beginning Thursday, might be the most difficult of those non-conference tests.
Texas tried to three-point shoot themselves to an insurmountable lead over Iowa State early in the first half. Its lack of success led to a 10 point deficit the Longhorns would eventually come back from to make it a three point game at the half.
After Texas figured things out in the first two minutes of the second half, Iowa State figured things out in turn. From that point on, it became a back-and-forth slugfest that Texas ended up winning, with freshman Matt Coleman’s mid-range jumper with 44 seconds remaining serving as the final blow. Seventh-seed Texas defeated the tenth-seed Cyclones in Kansas City, a.k.a. “Hilton South,” 68-64 to move on to the second round of the Big 12 Tournament.
Texas plays its opening round game of the Big 12 Tournament tonight against Iowa State, a team they beat in both matchups this year. It sounds like the message coming out of KC is that Mohamed Bamba likely is not available for the game tonight and his status going forward in KC is also up in the air.
Texas’ bats slumbered through a 6-2 Friday loss to Northwestern. During the rest of weekend, they were very much awake. The Longhorns put up 38 runs over three games Saturday and Sunday including 12 in Texas’ series ending win that was called after seven innings. Freshman Bryce Elder earned the win in relief, while junior left fielder Masen Hibbeler’s 4-for-5 effort paced the Texas offense.