Big 12 Without Final Four Representative For First Time Since 2017
For the first time in six years, the Big 12 Conference will not be represented in the Final Four. Second-seeded Texas let a 13-point second half lead slip away and fell to the fifth-seeded Miami Hurricanes 88-81 in the Elite Eight Sunday evening in Kansas City.
Up 67-55 on center Timmy Allen’s pair of free throws with 10:14 remaining, the Longhorns seemed to be well in control and on the way towards becoming the fourth different Big 12 team in the last four tournaments to cut down the nets in a regional semifinal, and perhaps the third straight to cut down all the nets. But the Hurricanes had other ideas, storming on an 18-5 run to come all the way back and take their first lead since the first half. They finished it off and sent the Longhorns home as the league’s last representative to continue the streak of greatness. Kansas State also lost in the Elite Eight to Florida Atlantic by a 79-76 count.
Last year, Kansas made it two consecutive national titles when it bested North Carolina in the national championship, following a victory over Villanova in the Final Four and a victory before in the Elite Eight over these Miami Hurricanes. The year before, Baylor captured its first-ever national championship, defeating Gonzaga, on the heels of a Final Four win over Houston and a triumph over Arkansas in the Elite Eight that sent it to the Final Four.
The tournament, of course, was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, it was the Texas Tech Red Raiders who came up just short of claiming their first-ever national championship. They fell to Virginia in the title game, just after beating Michigan State and, previously, Gonzaga with eight teams remaining. In 2018, Kansas began the streak by advancing past Duke in overtime in the Elite Eight. It fell to Villanova in the Final Four.
Still, with this result, it’s hard to argue about the strength of the Big 12. The league has been considered above the rest this season, and tough results in the tournament hardly change that.