Six WCC teams selected to play in NCAA Tournament, the most for the conference since 2003
SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- Six West Coast Conference schools will represent the WCC in the 2012 NCAA Tournament, as announced Sunday by the NCAA on ESPNU. WCC co-champion BYU, Loyola Marymount, Pepperdine, Saint Mary's, WCC co-champ San Diego and Santa Clara will represent the league in the field of 64.
The conference's six bids is tied for the WCC's most ever, tying its previous record set back in 2003. The Big Ten Conference and the Pacific-12 Conference led all conferences with seven bids each. The WCC was next with six teams representing the league in the NCAA Tournament.
BYU, the WCC's automatic qualifier and co-champion of the conference, will host New Mexico State on Friday. The Cougars received the league's AQ by virtue of the conference's tiebreaker process, which was the number of sets won in the BYU-San Diego series. BYU received the NCAA's No. 12 seed and the winner of the Cougars-Aggies match will face the winner of Arizona State-Oklahoma. The Cougars finished the regular season with a 26-3 overall record and were 13-3 in WCC play.
San Diego, who also tied for the WCC Championship, received an at-large bid and will face Michigan State on Friday in Los Angeles. This is the third year in a row that the Toreros will play in the NCAA Tournament. USD finished the year with a 21-6 overall record and a 13-3 league mark.
Loyola Marymount also earned one of the country's 33 at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament and will take on Western Kentucky on Friday in the NCAA First Round. This marks the Lions first appearance in the field of 64 since 2005.
Pepperdine will appear in the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row when they face Dayton in Eugene, Ore. on Friday, November 30. The Waves lost to Dayton in four sets back in August in Ohio.
Saint Mary's will face San Diego State on Thursday, November 29 in Los Angeles, Calif. The Gaels last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2009. SMC finished with a 12-4 record in the WCC and a 17-10 mark overall.
Santa Clara, who had a 20-11 record and a 9-7 mark in the conference, will take on Hawaii on Friday in Seattle. Santa Clara last played in the field of 64 in 2008 when the WCC received five bids to the tournament.
The 64-team field was announced during a selection show on ESPNU on Sunday. Of the 64-team field, 31 teams received automatic qualification with the remaining best 33 teams selected on an at-large basis. NCAA regionals will be held on December 7-8 at four predetermined sites: Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif., CenturyLink Center Omaha in Omaha, Neb., Gregory Gymnasium in Austin, Texas, and Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.