KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Houston received the No. 1 seed in the Midwest Region for the NCAA Tournament on Sunday night, the selection committee rewarding the Cougars at the expense of Kansas, which had been hoping its national title defense would include a stop just down the road from its campus in Lawrence.
Instead, the top-ranked Cougars will try to reach their hometown Final Four starting off in Birmingham, Alabama, but with the potential of playing a Sweet 16 game and a regional final in Kansas City, Missouri.
The Cougars (31-3) lost to Memphis in the American Athletic Conference title game Sunday. They were playing without Marcus Sasser, the league player of the year and a likely All-American who strained his groin in the first half of their semifinals and will be a question mark leading up to Thursday’s opener against Northern Kentucky.
It’s the first No. 1 seed for the Cougars since 1983, the height of their Phi Slama Jama era, when Hall of Fame coach Guy Lewis led Clyde Drexel and Co. to the first of their back-to-back national championship games.
Texas (26-8) earned the No. 2 seed in the Midwest after finishing second in the Big 12 in the regular season and then romping past the Jayhawks in Saturday night’s conference title game. It was quite a reward for the Longhorns, who endured the firing of coach Chris Beard early in the season amid allegations of domestic violence, yet rallied around interim coach Rodney Terry to pile up their most wins since the 2010-11 season.
The Longhorns will open against No. 15 seed Colgate on Thursday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Xavier earned the No. 3 seed and will play No. 14 seed Kennesaw State, making its first NCAA trip, on Friday in Greensboro, North Carolina. Indiana is the fourth seed and will play No. 13 seed Kent State in Albany, New York.
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