Bush congratulates SMU basketball on NCAA bid

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Former President George W. Bush congratulated SMU basketball players Monday on their first NCAA tournament bid in more than two decades.

SMU earned a No. 6 seed and will play No. 11 seed UCLA on Thursday afternoon in Louisville. It's the first trip to the tournament since the 1993 season for the Mustangs.

"I was able to talk to my favorite team, the mighty Mustangs," Bush told reporters after leaving the team's locker room Monday afternoon. "Hopefully they go a long way. I have no predictions except that I will be pulling for them."

Bush said he would watch SMU's tournament game on TV.

The 2014-15 season has been one for the books for SMU. The school won its first regular season conference title since 1993 and on Sunday won its first conference tournament title since 1988. Both of those crowns came when SMU was still a member of the now-defunct Southwest Conference.

SMU guard Nic Moore was named the conference's player of the year and Markus Kennedy won conference tournament MVP honors.

A crowd of cheering fans and students welcomed the team home early Monday morning on the SMU campus.

Thursday's match up will have SMU coach Larry Brown facing the school he coached from 1979-1981. Brown's 1979-80 UCLA squad made it all the way to the national title game.

SMU is 27-6 overall and finished the year at No. 18 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.