Middle-Class Schools at the Big Dance

San Diego State and Long Beach State May Be Underdogs in NCAAs, But They’re Big Winners for California

Like parents with more than one child, Californians say they love all of their higher education systems equally. But everyone knows that the University of California is really the favorite, with its collection of beautiful seaside campuses and college-town enclaves, high-powered academics, world-renowned research labs and nationally ranked athletic powerhouses.

The California State University System? Not so much. This scrappy array of 20 campuses is the underappreciated younger sibling always striving to win more affection, usually to no avail.

This week two of those CSU campuses get a rare moment in …