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Texas Western's Streak Is Over

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

It has been a long time since a men's team from the state of Texas has won a college basketball championship - 1966, to be exact. That changed last night.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: Coach Drew and Baylor complete college basketball's greatest rebound and rebuild with a championship.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Baylor University took down Gonzaga 86-70 in the national title game. But not all basketball fans in Texas are happy about it. This is writer Roberto Jose Andrade Franco.

ROBERTO JOSE ANDRADE FRANCO: I was disappointed, I guess. You know, it's the one thing that El Paso has over Texas - that championship. And it'd been 55 years. Right before I went to sleep, my wife asked if I needed a hug or something. I guess I was showing that I was much more disappointed than I thought.

CHANG: He's talking about Texas Western's 1966 national championship, the first men's college team to feature an all-Black starting lineup. Disney even made a movie about it called "Glory Road."

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "GLORY ROAD")

AL SHEARER: (As Nevil Shed) Coach, the more we win, the harder it is for us out there.

JOSH LUCAS: (As Coach Don Haskins) What do you suggest we do, Shed - Lose? Give them what they want?

SHAPIRO: Texas Western is now known as the University of Texas at El Paso, and Andrade Franco says that historic team is a point of pride for his city. The '66 team is inescapable in El Paso - murals around the school, people wearing the orange-and-white throwback jerseys, chrome pickaxes on the backs of cars.

ANDRADE FRANCO: You almost have the relationship of being an alumni even if you never went to that school - right? - because it's just there. You see people's - I mean, I know family members who never went to college, and they have that little chrome pick on the back of their trucks.

CHANG: The streak may be over, but that 1966 Texas Western team will forever be a part of El Paso culture for Roberto Andrade Franco.

ANDRADE FRANCO: It doesn't diminish what they did. It's still 55 years. They're still the first Texas men's team to do it. But, you know, being the only one would have been better.

CHANG: For the record, we're only speaking about the men's game. Four women's teams from Texas have won a national championship in college basketball. In fact, Baylor's women's program has three of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF J-WALK'S "FRENCH LETTER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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