Texas is a football hotbed, but the Lone Star State is bountifully represented in the March Madness tournament this year as well. Last night the NCAA Selection Committee announced the 68-team lineup for this year’s NCAA Tournament, and gave Texans plenty of rooting-interest options as five of the squads hail from right here in Texas.
As the post-play-in portion of the Tournament begins on Thursday, Baylor as the No. 5 seed in the West region will take on No.12 Yale, and the No. 8 seed in the Midwest, Texas Tech, will face off against 9th-seeded Butler.
Friday, No. 14 Stephen F. Austin — in the Tournament for a third straight season — will be the underdog against the East’s No. 3 seed West Virginia. The same day, a No. 3-seed Texas A&M will take on No. 14 Green Bay, with the Aggies among the chic picks to eventually advance to The Final Four.
Meanwhile, No. 6 Texas will tip-off against No. 11 Northern Iowa that day, and if all goes according to the oddsmakers (and the Aggies and the Longhorns both win), it will set up an all-Texas second-round match-up between the two rivals … bitter in football and maybe about to turn up the heat on the court as well.
The unfortunate omission from the group: SMU and its 25-5 record, deemed ineligible due to a ban following violations of NCAA policies.
Texas is football country. But starting Thursday, and maybe lasting all month as the Final Four heads to Houston, it’s a basketball world.