CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas A&M University Corpus Christi (TAMUCC) is heading back to the NCAA "March Madness" Tournament. The Islanders Men's Basketball team won their second consecutive Southland Conference Tournament Championship by defeating Northwestern State 75-71 on Wednesday. Students and staff came together to cheer on the team from the University Center.
What may be even more important is the exposure for the university.
The Islanders had both their Southland Conference Tournament games on ESPN’s national platform, getting the schools name and talent out there.
“They are showing off what Corpus Christi’s made of. They are representing not only our university, they are representing Texas,” Omar Escudero said, a sophomore.
“It just brings everyone together to be able to watch our team from a far. And just have fun, meet new people and put our school out there,” said Cameron Allen, another sophomore
This will be the second year in a row the Islanders will get to the "big dance" to play in the NCAA Tournament. Last season they earned a 16 seed matchup with fellow 16 seed Texas Southern in the "First Four" round. It was their only game of the tournament, losing 76-67.
Once again, eyes from all over the country will be on the Island university.
What do students think this can do for the university? Senior Jon Bell said he's excited for this to happen again and hopes it can draw in more basketball recruits to the school.
“I think it shines a little light on us because we’re a small school, but we’re not that small, but we’re on the island. So, that kind of puts a little light on us,” Bell said.
Alumni know success in athletics can be a launch pad for university success. Zelda Chacon said she has been at the university since the basketball program was getting started and loves the culture and community the coaches that have come through have built.
“Putting us on that national level is going to really, not only increase a sense of pride we currently have here, but also I think it’s going to increase our visibility and our notoriety here, even within our own community and our own state,” said Chacon, now the director of the university health center.
Chacon added she also hope the exposure will draw more students to enroll at TAMUCC.
The Islanders find out their fate of who they play and where on Sunday during the selection show. Another watch party will be held at University Center to watch the selection show.
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