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NCAA South Regional: It's Texas Time

Inside the giant space of Houston's Reliant Stadium this weekend, the NCAA Tournament's South Regional will determine which team will get the chance to stay in the Lone Star State next weekend for the biggest show of all.

True, Memphis is the top seed, but no one is pretending that the Tigers will enjoy a friendly crowd here -- not when thousands in burnt orange will turn up with their index and pinky fingers in the air, ready to hook 'em.

The last time Texas reached the Final Four, in 2003, it did so winning a regional in San Antonio, where the Alamodome got turned into a miniature version of Austin. Here in Houston, how can it be any different?

Then again, Rick Barnes and the Longhorns earned the right to such an adventure through its fine regular season and share of the Big 12 regular-season title, plus a solid run in Little Rock through the tournament's opening weekend.

After handling Austin Peay last Friday, Texas was doing much the same damage to Miami in the second round before a furious Hurricanes rally made it nervous in the end.

By winning, though, the Longhorns went further this time than it did with Kevin Durant in 2007. Any team with D.J. Augustin and A.J. Abrams in the backcourt, plus Connor Atchley causing havoc in the paint, will be difficult to stop.

Still, Stanford will try, and even though it's a no. 3 seed and expected to get this far, the Cardinal was quite fortunate to escape Anaheim -- with head coach Trent Johnson the most relieved soul of all.

Once Cornell was safely out of the way, Stanford faced Marquette in the second round and quickly fell behind. Angry at a lot of things in the first half, Johnson protested too much, got one technical fall, then persisted in his protest and got a second T, plus a trip to the locker room.

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