HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Texas Southern University Tigers are headed to Dayton, Ohio! The team learned on Sunday that they'd face Fairleigh Dickinson in one of the First Four games of the March Madness NCAA tournament.
The men's basketball team has already shown they have perseverance and determination. Considering injuries and losses, it was a rough start to the season, but they bounced back to win the SWAC Championship and the right to play on college basketball's biggest stage.
Walking into Kulture, a restaurant owned by Texas Southern University alum Marcus Davis, the team carried the SWAC Championship trophy in hand.
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They reflected a team that's ready to play a lot more basketball. John Walker III said, "Let's win it all!
"This is huge for us," Coach Johnny Jones said.
"We went through a lot this season to get here. To be here on Selection Sunday is a blessing, man. I don't care who we play, "Jourdain Karl Nicholas./
That's the attitude the team and their fans hope will help put them over Fairleigh Dickinson during the play-in game. "It's going to be a good opportunity to go and challenge another really good basketball team," Coach Jones said.
A win secures the 16-seed in the East and pits TSU over top-seeded Purdue in the first round. A deep, bracket-busting run in the tournament would bring the Tigers back home to the Final Four in Houston.
"That's the goal. Get all the way to play in front of the fans, playing for the Third Ward. Just thinking of that alone gets you through the year. That'll be the greatest thing to ever happen," Walker said.
Coach Jones added, "When you're working with a group of young men that have put their best foot forward, focused on playing for the pride of the school and the city... it means so much to them."
This makes the third straight year Coach Jones has taken the team to the NCAA tournament. Flashing three fingers, they are hoping this time will be the charm.
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"We got the ball rolling in the right direction now. We have to keep playing our basketball, our game, and you know, it's going to handle itself," Nicholas said.
Tipoff for TSU's matchup against the Knights is set for 5:40 p.m. on Wednesday.
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