There’s still a little time left to fill out a bracket for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, known to its fans as March Madness or the Big Dance. The field of 64 teams is set, and Texas is well-represented. And for tournament-watchers, it’s totally a numbers game.
Let’s start with seven. That’s the number of Texas teams in this year’s NCAA tournament – over 10 percent of the total field. Three is the highest seed held by a Texas team – that belongs to the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The lowest? 16. That’s where the Texas Southern Tigers landed. They earned a ticket to the Big Dance after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament, even though they started the year by losing 13 straight games.
“And everybody was concerned about the record, but we knew that the rec wouldn’t be who we are as a basketball team. I didn’t design our schedule to make us feel good, I designed the schedule to make us better. And we got better,” says the Tigers’ coach, Mike Davis.
Another number – 20. That’s the number of years it’s been since Texas Christian University last made the NCAA tournament. The Horned Frogs were rewarded for their season with a sixth-seed in the Midwest Region, and a big number – 1204. That’s the number of miles they have to travel to Detroit to face Syracuse. It’s the eighth time TCU has made the NCAA tournament, which means it has a ways to go to catch the Texas Longhorns – a 10-seed this years, and the school that’s made the Big Dance more than any other in Texas. This is the 34th trip to the tourney for the Horns. Still, TCU has better odds than most Texas teams to make some noise. The betting website Vegas Insider puts TCU’s odds to win the tournament at 25-to-1. The Texas teams with better odds than the Frogs include Texas Tech at 10-to-1, Texas A&M at 20-to-1 and the University of Houston Cougars at 12- to-1. If you’re feeling like taking a risk though, you could take the 14-seeded Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks at 200-to-1, or those Texas Southern Tigers at 5,000-to-1.