Men's March Madness begins tomorrow with 9 Texas teams
Last updated 3/14/2023 at 5:50pm
There's a great chance that the top seed in the Midwest Regional could be playing the Final Four at home in a couple of weeks with those crucial games scheduled for NRG Stadium in Houston where the feeble Texans play their NFL home games.
I'm of course referring to the University of Houston Cougars, who reigned as the No. 1 college team in the country for several weeks during the regular season.
But that's all water under the bridge as the most meaningful part of the men's college basketball season is under way this week.
However, the Coogs are only one of nine Lone Star State's teams that have earned the right to play for the 2023 National Championship.
They were upset Sunday 75-65 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) championship game by Memphis. But the Coogs were forced to play without injured star guard Marcus Sasser, who will be 100 per cent healthy for tomorrow's game, and fell behind by 20 points before making a late run.
And to make matters even tougher for the U of H, there are three Texas teams in the Midwest Regional. There's a chance that the Cougars will meet either the Texas Longhorns or the Texas A&M Aggies in the Elite Eight for the right to play in the Final Four.
The Cougars (31-3) aren't expected to have much trouble overpowering No. 16 Northern Kentucky (22-12) in tomorrow's first-round game that tips off at 8:20 p.m. and can be seen on TNT.
The second-seeded Texas Longhorns (26-8) are expected to take care of business tomorrow against No. 15 Colgate (26-8) in a game that begins at 6:25 p.m. on TBS.
No. 7 seeded Texas A&M (25-9) is a slight favorite tomorrow at 8:55 p.m. against No. 10 Penn State (22-13), also on TBS.
If both teams win as expected, it will set up one of the biggest rivalries in the tournament when the two teams meet this weekend in the second round.
The tourney began yesterday with a pair of No. 16-seeded teams-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (23-10) and Southeast Missouri State (19-15)-played followed by 11th-seeded Mississippi State (21-12) and Pittsburgh (22-11). The winners get on the Big Board while the losers go home.
The same is true today when 16th-seeded Texas Southern (14-20) and Farleigh-Dickinson (19-15) meet in a 5:40 p.m. game on truTV followed by a pair of No. 11's-Arizona State (22-12) and Nevada (22-10) that meet at 8:10 p.m. also on truTV.
Besides the U of H Cougars, the three other No. 1 regional seeds are Kansas (27-7) in the West, Purdue (26-5) in the East and Alabama (29-5) in the South.
There probably are plenty of teams that college basketball fans feel are mis-seeded, but it happens every year and the selection committee comes out smelling like a rose. All four No. 1 seeds seem capable (on paper) of reaching the Final Four, but it doesn't happen too often.
KWICKIES...Orange lost a good guy last week when Sid Caillavet passed away at age 93. Sid was always good natured and loved to talk sports. He was a very good golfer with his late friend Joe Hargrove referring to him as "Cornbread". He played nearly every day with his regular group and when he couldn't play anymore, he followed his group around while sipping on some sudsy refreshment. Sid worked as a haberdasher at Griffin's Men's Shop and eventually bought the business. His humor and wit will be missed by many, including me.
And while on the topic of golf, 26-year-old Scottie Scheffler began the final round of the Players Championship Sunday with a two-stroke lead that at one time faltered to a tie. But Scottie ramped it up on the back nine and won the $4.5 million first place money by a whopping five strokes and returned him as the World's No. 1 golfer.
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JUST BETWEEN US...It seems like every year when the March Madness is getting all the sports attention, Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers dumbs up on whether he will retire, asked to be traded to another NFL team or remains with the Packers, but with a new restructured contract. This year it's a bit different because the Packers are hoping Rodgers either retires or puts on a New York Jets uniform for the 2023 season, despite the fact he still has three years left on his latest extension. In fact, those in the know claim a deal is in the works for the Jets to give Green Bay a No. 1 and No. 5 in the upcoming draft, a No. 1 and No. 5 draft in 2024 plus a player to be named. The free agent period began Monday and the "new" 2023 NFL season begins today. The word around Green Bay is "it's time for the Jordan Love Era to begin."