Excitement grips city as Tigers advance to championship - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Lori Brown

Excitement grips city as Tigers advance to championship

From San Antonio to Memphis, fans erupted in excitement Saturday night as the University of Memphis Tigers men's basketball team did something it hadn't done in 35 years - advance to the NCAA's national championship game.

At a watch party in Memphis, fan Becky McRea couldn't contain her excitement.

"This is great!" she exclaimed.  "I never imagined they'd win by that much."

McRae had waited for such a win since 1973, the last time the Tigers played for the national title.  In that game, they lost to the team they conquered Saturday: the UCLA Bruins.  It's the same team that knocked them out of the Elite Eight just two years ago.

"Two years ago, it just killed me," She said.  "The one with Bill Walton was just unbelievable."

Tiger fan Mattie Webb hadn't waited as long, but she was just as excited.

"My heart was about to come out of my chest," she said.  "My Tigers are the best!"

Even Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, a lifelong Tiger fan, was in attendance.  Warton said Saturday's victory was one of togetherness.

"That will go on for succeeding generations," he said. "Look at the kids in this room. What do they see in here, arguments or debates?  No, everyone is here for one reason."

The Tigers will play the Kansas Jayhawks in the national championship game Monday night.

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