COOGS HOUSE!

10 slammin' spots to watch the University of Houston Cougars and March Madness action

The UH Cougars are ready for the big dance. Here's where to watch them run. UH Cougars/Facebook

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Craig D.Lindsey.

The roars are echoing across the Bayou City as the University of Houston Cougars men's basketball team has earned a No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region and will take on No. 14 seed Georgia State at 6:20 pm Friday, March 22 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

It's a tremendous time for the Coogs, who're riding a wave of momentum thanks to billionaire benefactor Tilman Fertitta, a visit from ESPN's College GameDay, and a March Madness hoops buzz not seen since the glory days of Akeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, and the cast of Phi Slama Jama in the '80s.

Plenty of adventurous Coogs will make the trip to Tulsa, but fortunately for those who can't, there are plenty of local spots to pounce on for a good view of the game and good brew.

(Pro tip: We humbly suggest hitting Twin Peaks, as a star-studded list of ESPN 97.5 FM hosts will broadcast live during the day.)

So whether you bleed Cougar red or are rooting for the other Texas teams in the tourney (we hear you, Abilene Christian, Texas Tech, Baylor, and Prairie View A&M), here's where to take in the madness.

Avenida Plaza
Of course, this is the big one. Several different screens will be tuned into the game, including one large display at 100-plus inches and multiple ones at 80 inches. We also got appearances from the University of Houston Cheerleaders, Dance Team, members of the Cougar Marching Band, and UH mascot Sasha! 5-9 pm.

Finn Hall
The food hall, filled with 10 independently operated eating establishments and two bars, will be playing March Madness games (including this one) through April 8. And don't forget about the "Buckets for Buckets" specials, where you can mix-and-match buckets of beer cans, during the games. 11 am to 11 pm.

Fuego's Saloon
Billed online as a "rustic-chic sports bar with eclectic pub grub, lots of beers, and an indoor/outdoor dog-friendly patio," this isn't a bad place to watch the game. Not only will people get to see the game live on TV, but they'll also be playing the radio commentary from a live broadcast. 6-9 pm.

Little Woodrow's Bellaire
Over at the Bellaire location of this watering-hole franchise, happy hour is always extended to 9 pm on Fridays. So you can get $3 house wine, $4 Fireballs, and $5 margaritas while you watch the game. There will also be $4 select Houston drafts and can beers. 4 pm.

Lucky's Pub
It's known as a premier sports bar and pub, so why not watch the game there? Cheer the Coogs on while dining on such pub grub as boneless buffalo wings, spicy fried pickles, and something called WonTacos or Juan Tons (crispy wonton taco shells filled with ginger chicken, cabbage, carrot, mushroom, red pepper, and cilantro). 5-10 pm.

The Phoenix on Westheimer
Oh sure, you can show up, watch the game, and have a good-ass time. But we need to talk about the special this joint has every Friday, which is $8 fish and chips. That sounds just beautiful as hell. They also have $4 Phoenix brews — but it's the fish and chips we only care about! 6:20-9:20 pm.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about more watch parties.

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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