AUSTIN (KXAN) — The field is set. The teams are seeded. Brackets are filled. Cinderellas are picked.
So who will cut down the nets in Indianapolis on April 5?
According to Shaka Smart, despite what the pundits say and how your bracket looks, it’s still up in the air.
“It’s TBD,” Smart said, emphatically. “It’s TBD. I think it’s easy for folks that are not playing or coaching in the games to say, ‘Yeah, this is gonna happen,’ or ‘That’s gonna happen, I filled out my bracket and these are the teams.”
It makes sense for Smart to push back so hard on pre-determined outcomes for a tournament that hasn’t even been played. For one, 10 years ago, his VCU team defied all odds and busted brackets when he took the Rams from the First Four to the Final Four.
But what more Texas fans are concerned with is the fact that this year, the Longhorns are a No. 3 seed, and a trendy pick to make the Final Four. What concerns Smart is his team hearing that and thinking they’re a shoe-in for a deep run because people say so.
“I think, as a player, certainly as a coach, I believe as a player, as well, if you can get to a place of full acceptance that it is TBD, and that what you do and what you control plays into that, but doesn’t fully determine it by yourself, then you can just go after it,” Smart said. “That’s the fun in playing sports.
“Whoever plays better is gonna win,” Smart said. “Whoever plays harder is gonna go get the loose ball. Whoever runs faster has an advantage in transition.”
Texas opens its run in the tournament against Abilene Christian on Saturday night.