SFASU gears up for the Big Dance

A lot of East Texans are holding their breath--waiting to see what happens at the Big Dance. Stephen F. Austin State University's basketball team is about to leave for San Diego to take on VCU and kick off March Madness.

The Lumberjacks have had an amazing season on the basketball court. They finished out the season with a 28 game winning streak and an emotional win over Sam Houston.

"Coach Underwood actually took every starter out and I started bawling and crying because I knew we had made it to the big dance," junior Band and Purple Haze spirit group member Jonathan Aviles said.

Aviles said VCU should be scared.

"I don't think they know what's coming for them," he said. "It's been a ride. It's just so crazy because these guys are working their butts off and it's finally paying off."

"There's no better feeling," junior forward/center Sharife Sergeant said. "It's the best feeling there is."

From the start of the season, Sergeant had a feeling.

"We always knew we were going to have something special," he said. "It's just a family. We get along together, we work hard together. It's a blessing to be part of this family."

On campus there are signs everywhere. And the purple shirts are plentiful.

"The mood is just crazy," senior Purple Haze member Solomon Delaney said.

"I just get goose bumps whenever I think about it," junior Purple Haze member Katelyn Dobesh said. "At the final game it just almost brought me to tears with the confetti dropping. It was so overwhelming and so exciting."

The trip to San Diego is good news for the university on the heels of a study that found many high school students around Texas hadn't heard of SFA.

"And even among the students who are aware of the university, they may not be aware of the exact programs we offer or what our courses of study are and so any time we can get the university's name out to those people, purely from an educational basis, it's a great advantage to us," Executive Director of University Marketing and Communications Shirley Luna said.

Now that name will be all over national television, along with a dream.

"Coach is a great guy, and he'll get them there," Dobesh said. "He'll make it happen."

"If they keep playing the way that they are playing right now, they'll continue to win," Delaney said.

SFA is going into Friday's game as the number 12 seed. VCU is number five.


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