March 16, 2008
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - For the first time in the 56-year history of West Coast Conference men's basketball, the WCC will send three teams into the NCAA Tournament, as the men's tournament bracket was announced Sunday afternoon by the NCAA Division I Men's Selection Committee.
The WCC was one of eight conferences in the country to send at least three teams into the NCAA Tournament. The only conferences to send more teams into the NCAA Tournament were the Big East (8), the Pac-10 (6), the Big 12 (6), the SEC (6), the Big Ten (4), and the ACC (4).
San Diego (21-13/11-3), the WCC's automatic qualifier, earned a No. 13 seed in the West Region and will face the No. 4 seed Connecticut on Friday in the first round at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. USD earned the league's automatic bid as the No. 3 seeded Toreros downed top-seeded Gonzaga in the championship game of the WCC tournament, 69-62, on March 10th. This marks the Toreros' fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history and their first since 2003. First-year Head Coach Bill Grier directed the Toreros to two wins over top 25 ranked teams (Saint Mary's and Gonzaga), as well beating Kentucky at historic Rupp Arena in late December. The Toreros enter the NCAA Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the country, having won 13 of their last 15 games.
Gonzaga (25-7/13-1), the WCC regular season champion, earned the No. 7 seed in the Midwest Region and will face Davidson, the No. 10 seed, on Friday in the first round at the RBC Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. The NCAA Tournament is the 10th consecutive bid for the Zags, tying them with Texas and Wisconsin for the sixth longest active streak. With a 25-6 record, Gonzaga has won 20 games for the 11th straight season and for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons.
Saint Mary's (25-6/12-2) earned an at-large bid for the second time in four seasons. The Gaels earned a No. 10 seed in the South Region and will face No. 7 seeded Miami (FL) in the first round on Friday at the Alltel Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas. Saint Mary's is enjoying one of the best seasons in program history, tying the school record for wins in a season and reaching the 20-win mark for the eighth time in school history. The Gaels' NCAA Tournament bid is the fifth in program history.
The three NCAA Tournament bids also mark the 10th time in conference history that the WCC has sent multiple teams into the Big Dance. Five of the multi-bid years have come since 2000, with the WCC sending 15 teams into the NCAA Tournament since the turn of the century.
The three postseason teams ties for the second most in a single season in conference history. The WCC has sent three teams into the postseason on four prior occasions, most recently in 2005, with Gonzaga and Saint Mary's advancing to the NCAA Tournament and San Francisco going to the NIT. The WCC sent a conference-best four teams into the postseason in 1989 when Loyola Marymount and Saint Mary's advanced to the NCAA Tournament and Pepperdine and Santa Clara went to the NIT.
MULTIPLE WCC TEAMS IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
2008 - San Diego, Gonzaga*, Saint Mary's*
2005 - Gonzaga, Saint Mary's*
2003 - San Diego, Gonzaga*
2002 - Gonzaga, Pepperdine*
2000 - Gonzaga, Pepperdine*
1996 - Portland, Santa Clara*
1995 - Gonzaga, Santa Clara*
1989 - Loyola Marmount, Saint Mary's*
1987 - Santa Clara, San Diego*
1982 - Pepperdine, San Francisco*
* Indicates at-large selection