NCAA basketball playoff games begin this week, in the tournament known to fans as March Madness. On Sunday, the NCAA announced the 68 men’s and women’s varsity teams that will face off.
The Texas Standard turned to the Dallas Morning News reporter Joseph Hoy for more on where the Texas teams stand in the roster and what to expect in the next few (potentially biting) weeks.
Listen to Hoyt’s interview in the audio player above or read the excerpts below:
– Texas A&M: The Texas A&M University men’s basketball team will not participate in the NCAA tournament. The team had a promising performance in the SEC Conference Finals but ultimately lost to Tennessee on Sunday. Southern Methodist University also had a strong showing in their conference finals, but they won’t be competing in the final tournament either.
– Baylor: The Baylor University men’s basketball team, on the other hand, is tied with Gonzaga University for the highest-ranked team in the tournament. But Hoyt says the team has a tough road ahead if they want a new national title.
“Lingering in this bracket is a really talented UCLA team; the Kentucky team, lots of pedigree; and also a Purdue team that makes March an annual destination for them,” Hoyt said.
– University of Houston: Houston is the No. 5 seed in the tournament. Hoyt is not yet convinced that they could qualify for the final.
“They’ve lost a lot of talent,” he said. “They are generally known for their guard game. They lost two really good ones and they really became a front-court style playing team. But the American champions there, it’s going to be a tough road for them,” he said.
– Texas technology: Hoyt says as the No. 3 seed, Texas Tech has the ability to go far in the tournament, but they’ll still have to beat top teams like Gonzaga and Duke University.
– Utah: Hoyt says standout player and recent cancer survivor Andrew Jones is a guard who could take the University of Texas at Austin team far. And coach Chris Beard has already led other college teams to the NCAA championship; Hoyt says he’s proven he can “have magic in March.”
– TOS: The Texas Christian University Horned Frogs are a No. 9 seed, and Hoyt says guard Mike Miles is underrated.
“March Madness is all about the guard game. And if a guard can get hot, then a team can get hot. And I think Miles and TCU have the potential,” Hoyt said.
– Baylor: The Bears are the No. 2 seed in the women’s tournament and are in competition with a new head coach and NaLyssa Smith, two-time conference player of the year.
– Utah: First-year guard Rori Harmon is an asset to the Longhorns, coached by Vic Schaefer.
“Schaefer’s group is really, can really go far, I think,” Hoyt said. “Harmon is the freshman in the conference. They are going to be a team to watch.