Lobos, fans’ energy high for Clemson matchup in NCAA tournament

Lobos, fans’ energy high for Clemson matchup in NCAA tournament

The Lobo men's basketball team is in Memphis, ready to face the Clemson Tigers with the fans in the first game of the NCAA tournament.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Lobo men’s basketball team got their final night’s rest and now are ready to face the Clemson Tigers in the NCAA tournament.

It’s a game 10 years in the making. 2014 was the last time the Lobos got to put on their dancing shoes and head to the big tourney.

Heading into Friday, the positive energy is palpable.

Fans and media on Thursday got an up-close look at the Lobos and that energy. A few local fans were in attendance too. They told KOB 4 they attended UNM a few years ago and have always supported the team – so making the trek was a no-brainer to witness history.

“We’ve been waiting 10 years for this, couldn’t miss it,” one fan said. “I just had a good feeling we were going to make it out to NCAAs so we skipped Vegas and were really hoping we’d be here so now we’re here, there they are so.”

The players are ready. They’re still riding the wave of momentum from that conference championship last week.

If there’s anything about March, it’s that this is the time any basketball team wants to feel their utmost confident. Those are the teams that make deep runs in the NCAA tournament.

“I think we have one common goal, to win. And I think that’s what drives us the most. We see what it feels like to win and like the recognition we get so it’s just nice to finally get that,” Jaelen House said.

“It’s fun, especially to do it with this team. As much as we really love each other, man, all the stuff that we’ve been through, all the ups and downs this season,” Jemarl Baker Jr. said.

“We play with a sense of energy every possession and just in the whole tournament and if we can just translate that over to just this NCAA tournament. I mean, the sky’s the limit,” Jamal Mashburn Jr. said.

Everyone is ready to bring their A-game Friday, even if they were too nervous to sleep or too full from all the Memphis food they had to eat.

The game tips off at around 1:10 p.m. MT at the FedEx Forum in Memphis. On TV, you can catch it on TruTV.

The City of Albuquerque is also hosting a watch party in Civic Plaza. That’s going from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., coinciding with Food Truck Friday.