The second weekend of the NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday. For the first time since 2008, the Texas Longhorns are participating. The Longhorns meet up with a familiar Sweet 16 foe on Friday night.
Texas faces the Xavier Musketeers who sent Rick Barnes and company home for the 2004 NCAA Tournament. Since the game, Xavier has been a mainstay in college basketball through multiple head coach hires. The Longhorns look to join them as consistent contenders.
Rodney Terry has done well to avoid the minefields that have presented themselves to his fellow top seeds. Purdue, Kansas, Marquette and Arizona have already been eliminated as Top 2 seeds. His absences increase the likelihood that Texas can win it all. They will have to pass a difficult test in Xavier to get there.
Here’s a look at how the next round could play out.
I asked @desisills3 about what the transfer to Kansas State meant for his basketball career. His emotional response to his arrival at the ‘Cats:
“I didn’t know if I was going to be here or not…I’ve always wanted to come back to March Madness and I’m doing it.” #CrazyFaith pic.twitter.com/VbVs41uKYc
—Tejay Cleland (@KWCHTejay) March 16, 2023
No. 3 Kansas State and No. 7 Michigan State meet in a heavyweight clash to kick off the round of 16. K-State head coach Jerome Tang brings wits to combat Tom’s experience Izzo and the history of the Tournament. Ultimately, Kansas State is the better team. The Wildcats win a wire-to-wire battle.
1 of 352 D1 basketball teams
1 of 16 are left dancing
1 of 4 to do so in the last three years pic.twitter.com/ruCWmaJvJx
— Arkansas Razorbacks Men’s Basketball 🐗 (@RazorbackMBB) March 20, 2023
For the third straight season, Arkansas continues to play in the Sweet 16. Eric Musselman has the Razorbacks playing well at the right time. They continue their streak of good play after victories over Kansas and Illinois.
he did it 🗽 pic.twitter.com/mR5Dl6djpM
— Tennessee Basketball (@Vol_Hoops) March 21, 2023
Tennessee Volunteers head coach Rick Barnes’ defense stifled Duke’s offensive attack. FAU doesn’t have the greatest speed or athleticism. It could be difficult for Florida Atlantic to get baskets. Volunteers capitalize.
Gonzaga’s all-time leading scorer is one of four finalists for the biggest award in college basketball.#GoZags https://t.co/eIFgipLPD2
— Gonzaga Bulldogs on FanNation (@FanNationZags) March 22, 2023
In what could be a back and forth battle, I’ll count on the best player to win the game. That player could be Drew Timme. Gonzaga pushes toward another Final Four berth.
USBWA National Freshman Player of the Year❗️
Congratulations to Brandon Miller on being named the @USBWA Wayman Tisdale Award, which recognizes the national freshman player of the year!#RollTide | #BlueCollarBasketball pic.twitter.com/gL9dVCeDs4
— Alabama Men’s Basketball (@AlabamaMBB) March 21, 2023
I’m afraid Alabama is simply too good to lose this game if they show up prepared and perform well. Alabama wins by multiple baskets.
This will be Houston’s fourth consecutive trip to the Sweet 16.#March Madness pic.twitter.com/ohfQLjBobf
– Jose Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) March 19, 2023
Miami may surprise, but Houston is expected to play better basketball. I think Houston could put everything together on Friday.
nothing stronger than this brotherhood 🤘
— Texas Men’s Basketball (@TexasMBB) March 21, 2023
This Texas basketball team is special. Rodney Terry showed that he has what it takes to keep the team afloat when he isn’t playing his best game. Texas lost to Xavier 79-71 in the 2004 Sweet 16. Texas tops that performance with an 80-71 victory.