March 14, 2010
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - For just the second time in West Coast Conference history, four men's basketball teams advanced to postseason play. Gonzaga and Saint Mary's earned bids to the NCAA Tournament, while Loyola Marymount and Portland will compete in the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT).
The only other time in league history that four teams advanced to the postseason in the same year was in 1989 when LMU and Saint Mary's earned bids to the NCAA Tournament and Santa Clara and Pepperdine went on to play in the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).
The Gonzaga University men's basketball team (26-6) was 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. Friday's meeting between the Zags and the Seminoles will be the first time the two schools have met on the basketball court. 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.
The Saint Mary's College men's basketball team earned a No. 10 seed in the South bracket of the 2010 NCAA Tournament, marking the third NCAA Tournament appearance for the Gaels in six years. The Gaels will open the tournament against the No. 7-seeded Richmond Spiders, the Atlantic-10 regular season champions, at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, RI. The tip for the game has not yet to be announced. The match-up between SMC and Richmond will mark the second ever meeting between the two schools, as the Spiders defeated the Gaels 75-63 on Dec. 6, 1985 in the Apple invitational in Palo Alto, CA. The winner meets the No. 2 Villanova/No. 15 Robert Morris winner in the Second Round Saturday.
This marks the second time that Saint Mary's has made the NCAA Tournament following a WCC Tournament championship, that coming in 1997. SMC is 1-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament, and have not won a game in the tournament since defeating Idaho State (80-71) on March 12, 1959. Since the win over the Vandals, the Gaels have dropped five straight games, including four straight first round losses.
The University of Portland men's basketball team has accepted an invitation to the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT) for the second consecutive season and will play at Northern Colorado in a first round matchup on Wednesday at 6:05 p.m. (Pacific). Portland (21-10) has already matched a school record for wins and placed third in the West Coast Conference standings for the second straight season. The Pilots matched the best WCC record in school history with a 10-4 mark this season.
Portland and UNC have met three times previously with the Pilots owning a 2-1 margin in the series. Portland is 1-1 against UNC under head coach Eric Reveno. Last year, the Bears won a 76-73 decision in Greeley, Colo., while Portland took a 70-63 win at the Chiles Center during the 2007-08 season.
The LMU men's basketball will be in the postseason for first time since the magical postseason run of 1989-90 season. The Lions have been invited to play in the second annual CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament and they will host University of the Pacific in the first round on St. Patrick's Day, Wednesday, March 17 at Gersten Pavilion with tip-off set for 7:35 p.m.
It will be the first-ever postseason game hosted at Gersten Pavilion as the Lions will continue its most successful season since that Elite Eight run 20 years ago. The Lions enter the postseason at 18-15 on the season, posting a 15-game turnaround from the injury-plagued three-win season from a year ago. It is the second best turnaround in the nation this season and the second best in program history.