This time, Jonathan Holmes didn't sweat during the NCAA tournament selection show. It helped, of course, that he was sitting down watching it instead of running wind sprints.

Last March, Holmes and the rest of the Texas Longhorns had no hope of hearing their name called, so they spent the evening in the practice gym. Sunday, they were back in front of the television, where they felt they belonged.

“It's nerve-racking,” Holmes said. “But it's better than practice.”

And the Longhorns' next destination is better than last year's trip to the College Basketball Invitational. This time, UT earned an NCAA tournament No. 7 seed and will play 10th-seeded Arizona State in the round-of-64 in Milwaukee at 8:40 p.m. Thursday.

The Longhorns (23-10) made the NCAAs for the 15th time in Rick Barnes' 16-year tenure, with the only exception being last season's disastrous 16-18 campaign that left some wondering if he'd ever get them there again. But even though the top four scorers from that team left, and even though the Longhorns only had one player older than a sophomore (Holmes), they're back.

“Where we were a year ago at this time, it wasn't acceptable,” Barnes said. “We had to take a hard look at everything.”

The players who endured last year's struggles said Sunday wasn't thrilling as much as it was a fulfillment of their expectations.

This wasn't the surprise, sophomore guard Demarcus Holland said.

Last year was.

“When I came to Texas, I expected to be a winner,” Holland said. “It felt good to win this year, and this feels good. But we can't just make (the tournament) and be satisfied.”