March Madness: Houston Cougars, Texas Longhorns remain as Lone Star State teams in NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament

The Lone Star State was top-represented in this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, which moves on to the Sweet Sixteen and Elite Eight regional rounds this weekend.

Seven schools have earned bids for March Madness, with at least five of them seen as legitimate contenders for deep runs and potentially a trip to the .

How did the schools go?

WELL. Let’s just say the state leader, Governor Greg Abbott, may have done something when he.

Here’s how each school did it:

Texas Southern Tigers, 16th seed, East Region

Head coach Johnny Jones’ team continues to defy the odds by getting its SWAC tournament champions peak at just the right time. With just 11 wins of 20 losses on the season, they snuck into their league’s tournament as an eight seed, won three of the best programs in the conference, and earned a shot at a potential third straight Top Four win. The Tigers, seeded No. 16, didn’t expect a Cinderella team like Fairleigh Dickinson. Tobin Anderson’s team, which entered the tournament essentially by default after losing the Northeast Conference Tournament Finals to an ineligible team, never relinquished the lead to TSU at any point in the game, leading by 25 points . The Tigers’ highly improbable road to a hometown Final Four never came on the highway, .

Unrelated: Fairleigh Dickinson went on to win only in tournament history against Purdue.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders, 16th seed, South Region

Texas A&M Corpus Christi’s Jalen Jackson shoots at Southeast Missouri State’s Phillip Russell during a First Four game on March 14, 2023 in Dayton, Ohio.

AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The Corpus boys won their very first game of the tournament when they defeated Southeast Missouri State in a . As a 16th seed, the Islanders earned a trip to the round of 16 and the number one seed in March Madness, Alabama. The Crimson Tide swept the floor of Corpus Christi, even without freshman All-America Brandon Miller having to score. The season was by no means a failure for coach Steve Lutz and his players. The Southland Conference champions in the regular season and championship tournament went a respectable 24-11. The run also earned with Western Kentucky in the slightly larger Conference USA.

Texas A&M Aggies, 7th seed, Midwest region

Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford (23) outruns Penn State guard Seth Lundy (1) in the first half of a first round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, March 16, 2023.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The Aggies were a trendy sleeper team to go deep into the tournament. After all, Buzz Williams’ 25-9 team had to keep pace with Southeast Conference power teams Alabama and Tennessee, the former of whom the Aggies faced in the SEC Tournament Finals. So, a seven suit seems quite appropriate, right? From the looks of the first-round game against Penn State, A&M should have depicted dying and miserable. The Aggies didn’t count on Nittany Lions senior guard Andrew Funk with timely knocking down three — eight actually — to lead all scorers with 27 points. The only Aggies also with Texas, who, by fate, were paired in the same bracket with their former conference mates.

TCU Horned Frogs, 6th seed, West Region

Head coach Jamie Dixon and his Horned Frogs kept pace with the tough Big 12 Conference, notching wins against defending champion Kansas and tournament teams Kansas State and Iowa over the course of the season. Thus, a six-seed seemed like a case of underseeding for TCU, who faced top-four winners, No. 11 seed Arizona State in the first round. The Frogs trailed by seven points at halftime before storming back with nine minutes left in regulation. TCU needed a last-second field goal to win by two points. TCU went on to face No. 3 Gonzaga, a perennial Final Four contender, in a second-round game that the Horned Frogs led by five points at the half, but the Zags’ Drew Timme delivered another classic tournament performance , scoring 28 points in helping defeat TCU by three points.

Baylor Bears, third seed, South Region

The Waco Bears still retained some of the magic they gained from the national championship two years ago. Head coach Scott Drew earned three seeds in the tournament after a season that included wins over UCLA, Gonzaga, Kansas and TCU. Baylor faced the Big West tournament champions, the University of California-Santa Barbara Gauchos, in a first-round game that the Bears effectively trailed at halftime. They rallied late to take an 18-point win and advance to the second round against the Big East’s Creighton. Baylor came out of the blocks against the Bluejays, dropping by 10 points at halftime before losing by nine.

Texas Longhorns, second seed, Midwest region

Texas guard Sir’Jabari Rice celebrates at the end of a first grade college basketball game against Colgate in the NCAA Tournament, Thursday, March 16, 2023, in Des Moines, Iowa.

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

The Longhorns have not been sidetracked by off-the-field issues, particularly those involving former head coach Chris Beard, which was evident in UT’s four-game winning streak to close out the regular season, including two wins over the Big’s standard bearer. 12Kansas. The No. 2 seed soundly defeated Colgate in the first round behind Sir’Jabari Rice’s seven three-pointers off the bench. UT had a slightly more challenging Test against batters from Aggie, Penn State. The Longhorns held on to win by five points after leading by eight at halftime. The Nittany Lions actually had a one-point lead with 4:34 left before Texas pulled away. What is the future of the Longhorns? They face #3 seed Xavier in the Sweet Sixteen. The winner of that match faces the winner of a match between Miami and…

Houston Cougars, 1st seed, Midwest Region

Houston guard Marcus Sasser (0) shoots over Auburn guard Allen Flanigan (22) in the first half of a second-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament, March 18, 2023.

AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

It hasn’t been easy being a Coogs fan during this year’s tournament, especially as UH held the number one spot in the Associated Press’ Top 25 list through early March. But the Cougars entered March Madness limped after senior All-American Marcus Sasser’s groin injury in the American Athletic Conference tournament. Houston against 16-seeded Northern Kentucky in its first-round game, which saw Sasser start the game but aggravate his injury. If that wasn’t enough, head coach Kelvin Sampson also had another star guard, Jamal Shead playing injured with knee discomfort. The Coogs faced Auburn in the second round. Things didn’t go so well for UH, who were again under upset alert being down 10 points at halftime. But as the old sports cliche goes, the defense wins championships and in the second half the Coogs played exactly like their top-10 to rank as one of the most efficient defenses in the country. Houston finished the game with 12 blocks and four steals and outscored the Tigers 50-23 in the second half at . Houston earned its fourth Sweet Sixteen berth in five years.

UH and Miami face off Friday at 6:15 p.m

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