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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McCullers Jr. had nine strikeouts over four

McCullers Jr. looks sharp in tune-up before Rangers overpower Houston's bullpen

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite watching their chance to clinch their playoff spot on the field slip away in the walk-off loss on Friday, the Astros benefited from a loss by the Angels later in the night, securing their playoff berth. That meant they could play conservatively in the final two games of the season against the Rangers in Arlington. Here's a quick rundown of Saturday's matchup:

Final Score: Rangers 6, Astros 1.

Record: 29-30, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Jimmy Herget (1-0, 3.20 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Brandon Bielak (3-3, 6.75 ERA).

McCullers Jr. looks playoff-ready 

With nothing substantial to play for, the Astros did not expect to ask Lance McCullers Jr. to go deep into Saturday's game, instead giving him a few innings for a tune-up before assuming whatever role he would play in the post-season. He looked impressive, a promising sign after his injury stint and struggles on the road at points this season.

He finished four innings, during which he racked up a season-high nine strikeouts while giving up no runs on just two hits, both singles, and two walks. His final line: 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 61 P.

Both teams trade runs as  they go to their bullpens

Meanwhile, neither team was getting much going at the plate in the early goings, keeping it a scoreless game through the first five. Brandon Bielak took over for McCullers Jr. starting in the fifth but would allow the first run of the night in the bottom of the sixth as the Rangers would get three singles to take a 1-0 lead.

After Kyle Gibson held the Astros at bay for six innings, Houston would get on the board against Texas' bullpen, getting a leadoff double by Aledmyz Diaz in the top of the seventh. Diaz moved to third on a sac bunt, then scored on a sac fly by Jack Mayfield, making it 1-1.

Rangers blow it open in the seventh

The tie didn't last long, as Bielak would put two on base in the bottom of the seventh before giving up a three-run homer to make it a 4-1 Rangers lead. Andre Scrubb was next out of Houston's bullpen and allowed a solo home run on his first pitch. Scrubb would complete the inning, but not before allowing another run on three singles to push Texas' lead to 6-1.

Cy Sneed was next out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth and tossed a scoreless frame with two strikeouts. Houston would not make the unlikely comeback in the top of the ninth, with the Rangers taking the game 6-1.

Up Next: The last game of the Astros' 2020 regular season will be Sunday at 2:05 PM Central, as are most other games on the MLB slate on the league's final regular-season day. Houston's starter is TBD as they will continue to preserve their arms for the best-of-three first round that starts on Tuesday, while Texas will send Jordan Lyles (1-6, 7.08 ERA) to the mound.

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