Bohls, Golden: Texas baseball's no-show in Arlington will have NCAA regional consequences

Fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field cheer as Porter Brown heads toward home after hitting his second home run of the night during Texas' win over West Virginia on May 18. Despite two straight losses in the Big 12 Tournament, the Longhorns are hoping to be awarded an NCAA regional.
Fans at UFCU Disch-Falk Field cheer as Porter Brown heads toward home after hitting his second home run of the night during Texas' win over West Virginia on May 18. Despite two straight losses in the Big 12 Tournament, the Longhorns are hoping to be awarded an NCAA regional.

As the Big 12 baseball tournament marches on in Arlington, the Texas Longhorns have been playing the waiting game in Austin as the NCAA will announce its 16 regional hosts Sunday. Texas coach David Pierce has made his case for Texas, but the Longhorns' 0-for-2 showing in the Big 12 Tournament might be too much to overcome. Thoughts for this week:

1. Strike 3 for Texas baseball

Has Texas lost its shot at hosting an NCAA regional?

Bohls: That’s a hard yes.

D1 baseball has Texas headed to Stanford as a No. 2 seed. The Longhorns squandered a helluva chance after sweeping West Virginia to claim a share of the Big 12 title, dropping their first two in Arlington to also-rans Kansas State and Kansas. Perhaps no team in program history needs to be playing at home more to enhance its chances, but I’m betting the league gets just one host berth with Oklahoma State — and Texas A&M is projected to go there.

Golden: Yes.

That hardball ship sank sometime between the Horns scoring a paltry three runs in an 18-inning no-show in the Metroplex and when they gathered up their things and began thinking of where they won’t be playing next weekend. Texas just threw a pile of dirt on all the momentum it built with the sweep of West Virginia. Now 30th in RPI, David Pierce and Co. will have to get those Samsonites ready because it’s time to hit the road.

2. Two-and-out in the Metroplex

Were you shocked that the Longhorns faltered as they did at the Big 12 Tournament?

Bohls: Shocked, no. Surprised they played that badly, yes.

The paradox of the past two weeks shined a light on the massive inconsistency of this flawed club. It’s one that can beat anybody and lose to anybody, and I fear Lucas Gordon is going through a bit of a rough patch at the worst possible time.

Golden: Not at all.

Texas has fattened up on the competition by playing to its advantage in that big home ballpark. The relief pitching has been spotty at best all season, and the team hasn’t exactly blown away the competition away from UFCU Disch-Falk Field. Texas is 10-12 in games played away from home and 0-5 on neutral fields. That doesn’t bode well for a team that just went from a regional hosting bid to probably traveling to Dallas or Palo Alto for the first round.

It's been an up-and-down year for Rodney Terry, who guided the Longhorns through regular-season tumult to the NCAA Elite Eight but has been in rebuilding mode ever since.
It's been an up-and-down year for Rodney Terry, who guided the Longhorns through regular-season tumult to the NCAA Elite Eight but has been in rebuilding mode ever since.

3. The high cost of basketball recruiting

If you were in charge of NIL, what would you have offered Ron Holland?

Bohls: Considering everything is about the Benjamins these days, I’d think he wouldn’t have ultimately come for less than $500,000, which is a sad commentary on today’s college athletics landscape.

Golden: Considering that Miami guard Nijel Pack transferred from Kansas to sign a two-year, $800,000 contract — a deal that prominent booster John Ruiz brokered — the price for elite talent has gone up. It will take somewhere in the $600,000 neighborhood over two years to keep him out of Australia. I suspect he’s making much more there. Holland is reportedly planning on signing with the Illawarra Hawks but hadn’t as of Friday. Surely there’s a Texas booster out there willing to throw some money his way.

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4. Look to the portal, Longhorns

Would North Carolina guard Caleb Love be a good fit with the Longhorns?

Bohls: Ya think?

Love would be a good fit anywhere, and the Longhorns need additional, quality bodies on Rodney Terry’s roster, especially one who averages 16 points. Love’s got Texas, Arizona and Gonzaga as the current leaders for him, according to 247Sports. I think he would elevate Texas into a solid Big 12 contender.

Golden: Yes.

Rodney Terry needs another alpha at guard to replace Marcus Carr, and even though Love was a volume shooter at Carolina who shot only 37.8% from the field and just under 30% from distance, it’s possible that he could take a similar step up in those areas just as Carr did in his final college season. With prized recruits Ron Holland and A.J. Johnson no longer coming here last I checked, R.T. could use a player of Love’s caliber to keep the momentum from last season going.

5. Georgia's on our mind

Would a Georgia three-peat be bad for college football?

Bohls: Of course it would.

Sports likes dynasties and all, but enough already. The Bulldogs once again have a cupcake schedule with Tennessee-Martin, Ball State, UAB and Georgia Tech coming off a collective 24-24 season and have seven home games and don’t play Alabama or LSU. It’d sure be nice to see a different team win it all. It’s been forever since the Crimson Tide won a title.

Golden: It would be great for college football in Georgia, but not so much for the other 49 states. The Bulldogs will be in the mix as long as Kirby Smart is on the sideline, but it’s always better for the game when that trophy is getting passed around more. How about a non-SEC team winning it? It’s at four straight and counting, if you’re scoring at home.

Golden: Horns feeling host-y with new NCAA projections, improved pitching

6. Who'll prevail in the NBA's version of the Final Four

Who will win the NBA title?

Bohls: I’m all in on the Denver Nuggets.

This time off after sweeping the Lakers only gives them an extra advantage. Nikola Jokic, a point guard trapped in a center’s body, is my favorite player in the NBA right now, Jamal Murray is the comeback player of the year if it’s not Michael Porter Jr. I’ve got the Nuggets taking out Jimmy Butler and the surging Miami Heat in six games and becoming the next NBA dynasty.

Golden: The Nuggets.

I’m no fan of changing my mind from the preseason, and for the record, I went with the Celtics to win it all. But they just haven’t shown the consistency that would be needed to beat a team like Denver four times. The Nuggets have the best player in the postseason (Nicola Jokic), the best No. 2 superstar (Jamal Murray) and the best team chemistry of the teams remaining. They have a date with destiny. Alex English, Dikembe Mutombo and Dan Issel are somewhere smiling.

What will LeBron James do if he retires? Business beckons.
What will LeBron James do if he retires? Business beckons.

7. LeBron James' next move

What will LeBron James do if he does retire?

Bohls: Maybe own the world. Give Elon Musk a run for his money. Buy Twitter or abolish it. Pair up with Magic Johnson and run for president on a dual ticket. Duplicate Magic’s ownership in the Dodgers and become a minority owner, too. Become a huge business entrepreneur and major social activist. In short, anything he wants.

Golden: Since there isn’t any room on that award-winning "Inside the NBA" desk for him — Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley have it on lock — my guess is he'd continue to build his empire through his Springhill Entertainment brand with his buddy and partner Maverick Carter. That said, there's no way LeBron quits. He wants to one day play on the same court with his son Bronny. Lakers GM Rob Pelinka will add a couple of pieces that will put him back in the title mix soon.

Bohls: All that glitters was golden for Texas softball during its NCAA rout of Texas A&M

8. As different as balls and strikes

Are you in favor of robo umps?

Bohls: Honestly, I’m not.

I love the current speed-up rules, but I still love the human element of strike-ball calls, the arguments with managers, the ability of catchers to frame pitches better. The Automatic Strike Ball system is being used in all 30 Triple-A ballparks this season as MLB gathers data to consider employing it in 2024. The home plate umpire relays the call through an earpiece. I’d hope if MLB feels compelled to use it, rely on umpires next year and allow six to eight managerial challenges.

Golden: Not at all.

Horrible idea. Of all the major sports, baseball is the one that really needs that human element to keep it viable. There is a place for the replay system, pitch clocks and the challenge system, but taking the umpires out of the ballpark will kill the fabric of the game. No one wants to see a robo-ump throw a manager out of a game.

9. Taking the higher ground

Should Brooks Koepka be on the U.S. Ryder Cup team?

Bohls: Of course, he should.

Hey, I don’t like the guy for taking Saudi Arabia’s dirty money or for his aloof, prickly personality. But he’s among the best golfers ever, a sure-fire Hall of Famer, and he makes the American team better. He belongs on the team.

Golden: Should I drop 40 pounds? Of course he should be on there.

You put the best players on the team, regardless of what league they represent. If this thing is still about winning, then Koepka should be on the squad.

Bohls: Texas' Dylan Campbell All-Big 12 and at least Player of the Year-worthy

10. Don't pass on these quarterbacks

What late-round or undrafted quarterback could be this year's Brock Purdy?

Bohls: Stetson Bennett.

He's not Mr. Irrelevant as the last pick of the 2023 draft, but I’m going with Bennett, the Georgia legend who was the fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams. Matthew Stafford might have one foot in retirement and could easily be replaced this season.

Golden: Jake Haener.

New Orleans grabbed Haener in the fourth round, and the rookie made more headlines with a photo shoot that channeled his inner Zoolander than he did on the field. That said, his fellow Fresno State alum Derek Carr, while an iron man, is on the downside of a solid yet unspectacular career and backup Jameis Winston has been plagued by accuracy problems since he came into the league. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Haener get some run in the second half of the season.

This article originally appeared on Austin American-Statesman: Texas baseball team faces long odds for an NCAA regional in Austin