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It probably couldn't happen until the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament -- and that would take some luck -- but who wouldn't like to see a Tennessee-Texas matchup?

Not long after the 2014-15 season, the Texas leaders decided 17 years of Rick Barnes was enough.

They could do better than a 402-180 record. If that wasn't bad enough, he did miss the NCAA Tournament once.

Barnes was shown the way out.

In came Shaka Smart, one of the bright and rising stars in college basketball who had led Virginia Commonwealth to the Final Four in 2011.

Smart has done a good job at Texas. He has a 100-79 record and been to the NCAA Tournament twice, but the last time was in 2018.

After the Longhorns went 19-12 last season, the rumors started hot and heavy. Smart was going to get one more year, and if he didn't win then he could follow Barnes' trail out of town.

There were even whispers the Horns would hire Texas Tech's Chris Beard, who once led UALR to the NCAA Tournament and won as No. 12 seed.

No one is checking bus schedules out of Austin right now.

The Longhorns are 10-1, 4-0 in Big 12 play and ranked No. 9 in the NCAA NET rankings as of Wednesday.

Tennessee is 9-1, 3-1 in SEC play and ranked No. 4 in the NET rankings.

That would be a lot of orange, but it would be a matchup most of the country would watch.

* * *

Speaking of Tennessee, its only loss was to Alabama. Kentucky's only conference loss was at home Tuesday night to Alabama 85-65.

The Tide are 5-0 and alone at the top of the SEC standings. Arkansas travels to Tuscaloosa on Saturday.

The Tide's NET ranking is No. 24, which is behind No. 21 Arkansas and No. 22 LSU, who played last night. Missouri is ranked No. 25.

A 73-71 loss to Western Kentucky is hurting the Tide in the rankings. The Hilltoppers are 9-4 and 2-2 in Conference USA play. Alabama also lost to Clemson (9-1) and Stanford (8-3).

The Tide knocked off Kentucky and Tennessee on the road.

They are a much more dangerous team than originally thought. They shoot a lot of three-pointers, but their calling card is becoming an outrageous defense.

At this early juncture, it looks like the SEC will get five teams in the NCAA Tournament unless someone like Ole Miss, Mississippi State or Florida wins the SEC Tournament.

The other nine teams, including Kentucky, have some work to do between now and March Madness.

* * *

More and more college basketball games are being postponed because of covid-19, but the NCAA is unlikely to cancel another NCAA Tournament.

The plan is to invite all 68 teams to Indianapolis -- which already was the host city for this season's Final Four -- and basically quarantine them except when they are playing.

Indianapolis is home to the NCAA headquarters, and it is also a city that years ago made the decision to attract more money into its economy with athletics.

The city knows how to put on a big-time event.

Apparently there are enough hotels -- although some will stay in five-star hotels while lower-seeded teams are relegated to something less -- and all the hotels used will have room service and enough banquet rooms to accommodate a team's catered meals.

Most likely once a team checks into a hotel, it won't leave until it loses.

NCAA officials plan on having every hotel room sanitized 48 hours before the teams arrive, and those rooms will remain empty until the teams arrive.


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