The East Region of the 2022 NCAA Tournament is now the most wide-open regional, by far, as the upsets continued on Saturday afternoon.
No. 1 seed Baylor stormed from 25 points down to tie the game against North Carolina, but ultimately the Bears came up short in overtime, losing 93-86. This comes two days after the No. 2 seed in the East, Kentucky, was shocked by No. 15 seed St. Peter’s in overtime 85-79.
So suddenly, one night after Texas went on to beat Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Longhorns are looking at an enormous opportunity to potentially get to a Final Four, something no one was predicting after UT got knocked out of the Big 12 Tournament in the quarterfinals.
But of course before Texas even thinks about a Final Four, they have to reach the Sweet 16 in possibly their toughest potential match up left in the Region when they take on No. 3 seed Purdue on Sunday. Purdue is coming off of a 78-56 win over Yale in the opening round.
Now if you’re a Texas fan looking for more reasons to believe the stars may be aligning, Chris Beard’s first NCAA Tournament win as a head coach came in the 2016 Tournament when he was at Little Rock. He led the Trojans to a win over: Purdue.
If Texas is able to beat the Boilermakers, they’d take on the winner of No. 7 Murray State vs. No. 15 St. Peter’s, and then the other side of the East Region features North Carolina, along with either No. 4 UCLA and No. 5 St. Mary’s.
For Texas, even a win on Saturday would be unchartered territory, at least in quite some time, as the Longhorns haven’t been to a Sweet 16 or Elite 8 since 2008. The program has not reached a Final Four since 2003.
And now, thanks to a pair of big upsets, Texas is staring at an incredibly opportunity to end those droughts.