Doing the Texas four-step

AUSTIN, TX The reward for the Mavericks' first NCAA appearance: a No. 16 seed and a first-round game in the South Regional against Memphis.

Texas-Arlington (21-11) is one of four Texas teams to make it into the 65-team NCAA field Sunday, joining Big 12 teams Texas, Texas A&M and Baylor.

"It's unbelievable. It hasn't had a chance to sink in," coach Scott Cross said.

"We've worked so hard for this day and to finally get it done, it's like a huge monkey off our back."

The Mavericks are on the opposite end of the South Regional bracket of No. 2 seed Texas (28-6), which missed a chance to be a No. 1 seed when the Longhorns lost 84-74 to Kansas in the Big 12 tournament championship game Sunday. The Jayhawks are the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Regional.

Texas will play Austin Peay (24-10) on Friday afternoon in North Little Rock, Ark.

"I'm happy for our guys, because I told them, you don't ever take going to this tournament for granted," said coach Rick Barnes who has led the team to the tournament in all 10 of his seasons with the Longhorns. "It's something we won't ever take for granted and I'm just happy that we're a part of it."

Later Friday in North Little Rock, Texas-Arlington plays Memphis (33-1).

The Mavericks, who set a school record for victories this season, earned an automatic NCAA berth by winning the Southland Conference tournament Sunday, 82-79 over Northwestern State.

While Texas-Arlington knew they were NCAA bound, Baylor had to wait to be the last team called during the tournament selection. The Bears (21-10) are the No. 11 seed in the West Regional and will play Purdue (24-8) on Thursday in Washington, D.C.

It is the first NCAA berth for Baylor in 20 years, and only the second since 1950.

"This is something we set out to do all season," guard Curtis Jerrells said. "We felt like we worked hard enough to do it, and it just came down to the last spot. We just had to have faith."

Especially after the Bears were upset in the first round of the Big 12 tournament by last-place Colorado, the first No. 12 seed to win in the event.

Texas A&M (24-10), which won two games in the Big 12 tournament, is also in the West Regional. The Aggies play BYU (27-7) on Thursday night in Anaheim, Calif., making their third straight NCAA appearance.

"To make the NCAA tournament for the third straight year just shows how far we've come as a program," senior forward Joseph Jones said. "It feels great because it gives us another opportunity to show what we can do."

Before this streak, Texas A&M had never made consecutive NCAA tournaments and hadn't played in the postseason since 1987.

For Baylor and Texas A&M, who played a five-overtime game Jan. 23 won 116-110 by the Bears, to meet again they would both have to advance to the West Regional final.

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