There have been dozens of versions of the classic children’s fairytale Cinderella over the years, but never a version where the title character wears scarlet and black, that is until Saturday afternoon when the fifth-seeded San Diego State Aztecs (22-10) won the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas with a convincing 82-75 victory over the third-seeded New Mexico Lobos.
The reward for the Aztecs? Another animal of the desert, the Cougars of the University of Houston (26-7) on Thursday at 4:20 p.m. PST in (city), state for their first-round matchup in the NCAA National College Basketball Championship.
Will the Cougars cool down the Amazing Aztecs?
The Cougars enter the game a four-point favorite, having lost a hard-fought All-American Conference championship game to the Cincinnati Bearcats 55-56. The Aztecs however are the hottest team on the west coast after reeling off four victories in a row to take the MWC crown after not having played in the NCAA tournament the past two seasons.
This unexpected run made the scene at Fowler Gym even more spontaneous and energetic as the team awaited to hear its seeding location, a wait that was made about 20 minutes longer than normal due to new programming on TBS that announced teams first, then seedings and game match-ups.
The tournament started with an easier-than-expected 64-52 win over fourth-ranked Fresno State in the first round before the shocking blowout win over the top-ranked Nevada Wolfpack 90-73, when Trey Kell led the team with 28 points in 34 minutes.
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By the time the Aztecs got the MWC tournament championship, a very high-profile national network CBS Television Saturday afternoon game against New Mexico, destiny seemed to be on the side of the Aztecs, and the whole country witnessed that the hottest college team on the west coast now comes from the city best known for its cool and near-perfect weather.
The Aztecs’ miracle run to the NCAA tournament is the city’s biggest sports story focused on team performance in at least the last three years. It has become a much-needed and unexpected rallying point for the city.
An upset win over the hard-nosed Houston Cougars in what may be the most physical game of the entire tournament, and more than just the 619 will rise to see the Aztecs shine…the entire country will finally see that Cinderella really can wear black and scarlet!
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