Hoops: In Series, Lower Seed Has Advantage

BIRMINGHAM -- Texas and Purdue have met twice, both in the NCAA Tournament. One win for the Horns, back in 1990, and one win for the Boilermakers, in 1999. Interestingly, the lower-seeded squad has won both previous meetings.

In '99, a fatigued, thin Texas squad dropped a first-round decision to Purdue in Boston. That Longhorn team, Rick Barnes' first at Texas, won the Big 12 regular season title despite just seven scholarship players and earned a seven-seed in the Dance but simply didn't have enough left in the tank to beat the 10th-seeded Boilermakers. Purdue advanced to the round of 16.

Back in 1990, in the BMW days under Tom Penders, 10th-seeded Texas picked up perhaps its biggest-ever post-season win, 73-72, in Indianapolis in the Tourney's second round over heavily favored (and essentially home team) No. 2 seed Purdue. Panama Myers forever etched his name in Longhorn hoops lore with his last second, game-saving block. That Texas team went on to beat Xavier in the regional semis before falling to conference-mate Arkansas by a trey for a trip to the Final Four.

The tables are somewhat turned in Birmingham compared to Indianapolis. The Horns' enter Sunday's Round of 32 contest with the Boilermakers as a heavily favored No. 1 seed to Purdue's No. 9 seed. Unlike Purdue in '90, though, Texas will not have the benefit of a friendly crowd in the rematch. The closest thing to a home team in Birmingham, the Mississippi State Bulldogs, were sent packing Friday night by Butler. Louisville also has a large contingent (the Cardinals take on Butler in the game before Texas takes on Purdue), but regardless of the colors, most anyone in the BJCC Arena Sunday not wearing Burnt Orange will be behind the 'dog Boilermakers. And that'll be about 95 percent of the 15,000 or so expected.

Note: During the regular season, Purdue struggled on the road. The Boilermakers won just four games all season away from their home court, winning three and losing six on the road and winning one and losing three on neutral courts. Purdue finished 0-3 on the road or at neutral sites vs. ranked opponents, including 0-1 vs. top 10 teams. Texas is ranked No. 5 in the ESPN/USA Today poll (which came out after the Big 12 Tournament) and No. 3 in the Associated Press rankings, which came out before the league tourney).

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