March 14, 2010
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - The West Coast Conference landed multiple teams in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament field of 64 for the 11th time in conference history and the third time in the last three seasons. The WCC was one of 11 conferences and only one of five non-BCS conferences in the country to receive multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament.
Saint Mary's College earned the WCC's automatic bid by winning the league's conference tournament last Monday at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Gaels defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who earned an at-large bid to the Big Dance.
The Zags were awarded the eighth seed in the West Region as the NCAA announced pairings for this season's NCAA Tournament Sunday. The Bulldogs will face the No. 9 seed Florida State University Friday at the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. This season marks Gonzaga's 12-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 13th overall. The Zags won the West Coast Conference regular season title, finishing 12-2, but fell in the WCC tournament championship to Saint Mary's College, 81-62. This season also marks the first time in program history that the Bulldogs have been awarded an eight seed in the field of 65. The winner of the Gonzaga/Florida State game will play the winner of the Syracuse University/University of Vermont game Sunday. Syracuse (28-4) is seeded No. 1, the fourth No. 1 overall in the tournament. Vermont (26-6) is seeded No. 16 after winning the America East Tournament.
Saint Mary's will face No. 10 seeded Richmond in Providence, Rhode Island at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Thursday. The Gaels are in the NCAA Tournament for the sixth time in school history and third time in the last six seasons. After winning the West Coast Conference Tournament against Gonzaga, the Gaels received one of the tournament's 31 automatic bids. Richmond, out of the Atlantic-10 Conference, enters the game with a 26-8 overall record with wins over Temple, Xavier, and Old Dominion, all of whom earned bids to this year's tournament. The winner of the Saint Mary's/Richmond game will take on the winner of the No. 2 Villanova vs. No. 15 Robert Morris contest on Saturday.