First the NCAA Tournament brackets were released and Vanderbilt, led by Hobbs graduate Jeffery Taylor, got a fifth seed and will play No. 12 Harvard on Thursday in Albuquerque at The Pit (Click here for the complete bracket).
It's no secret Hobbs and the surrounding area still follows Taylor at Vanderbilt (I've seen numerous kids wearing the No. 44 Vanderbilt jersey and several folks chat with me about how he's doing for the Commodores) and I'm hoping to be up at the event covering Taylor and get a few stories into the News-Sun (not always easy getting press credentials for these events when you don't cover the team on a regular basis).
Nonetheless, I already know of several people from the Hobbs area making plans to attend Thursday's game.
Here in this video at about the 7:15 mark, Taylor talks about going back to The Pit and playing in New Mexico again.
Within an hour of the brackets being released, the New Mexico Junior College women's basketball team defeated Odessa College 64-51 in Lubbock to win its first Region V championship. The Lady Thunderbirds advance to the NJCAA National Tournament in Salina, Kan., from March 20-24.
This is such a great story because I remember five seasons ago during Drew Sanders' first season as NMJC coach when he had to have open tryouts for the team to fill the roster and won only a handful of games. Five seasons later and Sanders and his Lady T-Birds have won arguably the toughest region in the country and have a chance to win a national championship. Sanders has done a great job with the Lady T-Bird program.