UTA's Anthony Vereen, who scored 25 points during yesterday's Southland Conference championship game in Katy

Mavs Win! Mavs Win!

Not those Mavs, though they did too. These Mavs. The never-ever-ever been to the Big Dance and hey-that’s-my-alma-mater Mavs.

Our area’s big boys can’t win a lick with a Doherty or a Dougherty, but somehow North Texas and UTA (class of ’86, thank you very much) keep injecting the Madness into March. SMU last went to the NCAA Tournament in ’93; TCU, in ’98. Now, for the second year in a row, a local team will play mighty Memphis in the first round. (Game's Friday, for those keeping calendars.)

The original Mavericks-- in my day we were the Movin’ Mavs -- overcame the fact that they still play their home games on a friggin’ stage at Texas Hall and a completely underwhelming 7-9 conference regular season to win the Southland Conference to earn their first tournament bid in 49 years. Or, if you wish, in forever.

Surely UTA will get bitch-slapped by the 33-1 Tigers during the South Region first-round game in Little Rock -- remember, a 16th seed has never beaten a No. 1 -- but just seeing them make a cameo in the national spotlight will give us grads a case of the feel-goods. I spent yesterday texting profane, incredulous exaltations with fellow alum Mike Rhyner. Maybe later this week I’ll recant how me and the ol’ gang drank our way through four glorious years and free bar tabs by dominating the weekly sports trivia contest at the long-defunct Dry Gulch. --Richie Whitt

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