Five Texas schools remain in the NCAA Tournament through a day and a half after No. 3 Baylor pulled out a come-from-behind 74-56 victory over No. 14 seed California-Santa Barbara on Friday afternoon.
Baylor led by eight midway through the first half, but the Gauchos fought back to take a one-point lead.
The Bears turned up the heat in the second half, outscoring the Gauchos by 19 and eventually jumping to a 20-point lead. UCSB did not score in the final 4:48 as its upset bid fell short.
Adam Flagler led Baylor with 18 points, while LJ Cryer and Caleb Lohner also reached double digits on the scoreboard. Miles Norris scored 15 for UCSB, and Ajay Mitchell added 13.
Baylor was one of two Texas teams playing on Friday and the only one playing in the afternoon, with No. 6 TCU tipping off against No. 11 Arizona State at 9:05 p.m. CT.
No. 2 Texas (27-8) was one of two teams from the state to win its opening-round game. On Thursday night, the Longhorns faced No. 15 Colgate (26-9) in the Midwest region. Sir’Jabari Rice led the way with 23 points, including a career-high seven 3-pointers, and Marcus Carr added 17 as Texas cruised to an 81-61 win.
No. 1 Houston (32-3) survived a scare from No. 16 Northern Kentucky (22-13), which nearly became the second 16-seed to knock off a No. 1 in Tournament history. Houston led narrowly throughout the first half and held an underwhelming three-point lead at the break. Northern Kentucky made things interesting by tying the game at 36 with 15:44 remaining, but the Cougars went on a run to put away the game.
No. 7 Texas A&M (25-10) was eliminated by No. 10 Penn State (23-13) in dominating fashion on Thursday night. A&M came into the Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country but ran into a buzzsaw in the Nittany Lions. Penn State used a 9-0 run behind Andrew Funk and Jalen Pickett late in the first half to assert its dominance and take a 16-point lead at the break. Funk shot 8-of-10 from three-point range and finished with 27 points; Pickett had 19.
No. 16 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (24-11) was also eliminated Thursday by No. 1 Alabama, 96-75, after the Islanders won their Tuesday play-in game.
While TCU still has to play its first game of the Tournament, several teams already know their schedules for the Round of 32. Here is the known schedule for the remaining Texas teams.
No. 1 Houston (32-3) vs. No. 9 Auburn (21-12), Midwest region, 6:10 p.m. CT
No. 2 Texas (27-8) vs. No. 10 Penn State (23-13), Midwest region, 6:45 p.m. CT
No. 3 Baylor (23-10) – TBD
No. 6 TCU (21-12) – TBD (with a win Friday night)
— After a Thursday schedule filled with close calls and upsets, things were calmer on Friday. Baylor and No. 3 Xavier survived scares from UCSB and No. 14 Kennesaw State, respectively, and No. 11 Pittsburgh pulled off the only upset of the afternoon.
— Baylor improved to 20-0 on the season when holding teams under 72 points.
— Houston guard Marcus Sasser left Thursday’s win with a groin injury and is questionable for Saturday against Auburn.
— Kansas head coach Bill Self remains “day-to-day” after a surgical procedure on his heart last week. He was discharged from the hospital on Sunday.
— The Big 12 is 3-2, with two teams left to play Friday night.
— The SEC is 5-1, with No. 6 Kentucky (21-11) the last conference team to play its opening game. The Wildcats tipped off against No. 11 Providence (21-11) at 6:10 p.m. CT Friday.
— As of 8 p.m. CT Friday, 22 perfect brackets remained, according to ESPN.