MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (NEXSTAR) — Texas Tech alumni in the state capitol are buzzing as their alma mater makes its first Final Four appearance.
The Red Raiders are preparing to face the Michigan State Spartans, NCAA tournament veterans.
“All the Red Raiders down in Austin here in the Texas House are so excited,” State Rep. Matt Schaefer, a two-time Texas Tech graduate said.
“For any Tech alum to see our team not only in the tournament but out there and a chance to win it all, it’s just really exciting,” Schaefer (R-Tyler) said.
State Rep. John Frullo (R-Lubbock) said the university’s academic achievements pave the way for further school success.
“Getting into the Elite Eight last year and of course the Final Four this year, I think it’s going to increase the availability of even better talent,” Frullo said.
The team pride extends beyond political boundaries. State Rep. Joe Moody (D-El Paso) got his law degree there. He joked he faces heart trouble watching the weekend’s games to see his school play on the national stage. Even though he knows he is slightly biased, Moody said the exposure may inspire people who ordinarily wouldn’t know about the university to learn more.
“I’ve heard it said that sports is the front porch to a university,” Moody said. “Giving people an introduction to Texas Tech across the country could absolutely create more opportunities for the other academic positions that are available at that campus and helping them recruit students.”
Gov. Greg Abbott threw his support behind Texas Tech this week.
“I’ve got one thing to say and that is ‘Wreck ‘Em,'” Abbott said as he put his fingers in the trademark “Guns Up” salute.
“It’s great for the University, it’s great for the entire state of Texas, and I want everyone connected with Texas Tech to know how proud of the entire state is with everything the university is doing,” Abbott, who earned degrees from Vanderbilt and the University of Texas, said.
In addition to Texas hosting the Final Four in San Antonio last year, the tournament will soon return to the state. Houston will host the Final Four in 2023 and San Antonio will host again in 2025. In a time where Texas is in the news relating to border security and voting rights issues, the state welcomes the basketball buzz and economic boost that follows.
“There is always a huge economic impact when you happen to host the NCAA,” Abbott said. “It’s also good for the economy, it’s good for the state, it’s good for our profile and we have a Texas-based team participating in the Final Four.”