Road to the Final Four: Honda Center – Where Dreams Really Do Come True

by | Apr 7, 2019 | Andrei Ojeda, Basketball, NCAA Basketball, News

The 2019 NCAA West Regionals at the Honda Center would host the regions top four schools during the Sweet 16 and Elite 8, Gonzaga, Michigan, Texas Tech and Florida State. The Honda Center, home to the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks is no stranger to hosting NCAA Basketball’s March Madness, hosting the West Regional’s seven times and is also the annual host to both the Men’s and Women’s Big West Conference tournaments.

The Thursday evening matchups would produce very little drama as the regions top seed, the Gonzaga Bulldogs would pull away late from the Florida State Seminoles, setting up a Great Eight matchup with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Thanks to a huge second half, the Red Raiders would run away from the Michigan Wolverines.

With a day off on Friday, fans who did remain in the southland took advantage of the variety of sports and entertainment options offered throughout Southern California including Florida State fan, Preston Rider.

“Just coming out to watch the ball games. It’s a big deal. And then tomorrow night is a day off from those games so we’re going to go see the Dodgers and a little food, a little drink and just play a little bit,” said Rider.

Honda Center - Great Eight Matchup Between Gonzaga and Texas Tech

Honda Center – Great Eight Matchup Between Gonzaga and Texas Tech, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey

With a trip to the Final Four at stake, the Elite 8 matchup between Texas Tech and Gonzaga would be a tight match throughout the contest. The energy level from the fans of both schools would reach a fevered pitch, especially in the second half as both teams never had a lead of larger than seven points.

In the end, the Texas Tech Red Raiders would come out victorious, punching their ticket to Minneapolis en route to their first ever Final Four appearance.

Honda Center - Time to Cut Down The Nets

Honda Center – Time to Cut Down The Nets, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey

With the Red Raiders on their way to their first Final Four appearance, the Honda Center certainly had the feel of some Magic Kingdom for the loyal following from Lubbock. Not many predicted the Red Raiders to come out on top from the West, with many of the so-called “experts” predicting either Gonzaga or Michigan to go all the way to Minneapolis. In fact, only one top-seeded team would make it to the Final Four.

Honda Center - Sweet 16 Elite 8

Honda Center – Sweet 16 Elite 8, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey

The Sweet 16 / Elite 8 would be a huge success for the Honda Center. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Honda Center is just one of several venues in California capable of hosting an NCAA Regional. Recent enhancements, including a snazzy new food court have added to the fan experience.

Minutes away from the House of Mouse as well as a short 45 to 90 minute drive to either L.A. or San Diego and its various sports and entertainment venues, the Honda Center should have no problems hosting future NCAA regional tournaments.

Honda Center - West Regional Champions

Honda Center – West Regional Champions, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey

Congratulations to the Texas Tech Red Raiders on their triumph throughout the West Regionals! With the Red Raiders clinching their first ever trip to the big dance, the Honda Center, for one magical weekend, would be The Magic Kingdom for the red and black clad faithful from Lubbock, Texas.

Honda Center - Off to Minneapolis!!!

Honda Center – Off to Minneapolis!!!, Photo by Andrei Ojeda, Stadium Journey