Hawai'i Heads To Spokane For NCAA Tournament
2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket
2015-16 Men's Basketball Release No. 19
Making its first appearance in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship since 2002, Hawai‘i will face California for a South Regional First Round match-up in Spokane, Wash., on Friday, March 18. Tip-time will be 11:00 a.m. (PDT) on TBS.
The ‘Bows earned the No. 13 seed in the South Region. The winner of the UH-Cal matchup will face the winner of fifth-seed Maryland and No. 12 seed South Dakota State on Sunday, March 20.
UH earned the Big West’s automatic bid to the NCAA’s with it first conference tournament championship since 2002. The top-seeded ’Bows defeated Cal State Fullerton, UC Santa Barbara and Long Beach State at Honda Center to raise the crown.
Junior Aaron Valdes, the Big West Tournament MVP, joins fellow junior and Big West Player of the Year Stefan Jankovic, and senior Roderick Bobbitt on a 27-5 squad that has tied the program record for wins in a season.
PRIOR TO TIPOFF
HAWAI‘I vs. CALIFORNIA (NCAA, TBS) – Hawai‘i is back in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002. The Rainbow Warriors have tied the school record with 27 wins, the most by a Big West school since Pacific went 27-4 in 2004-05.
LONG BEACH STATE AT WASHINGTON (NIT, ESPN2) – Long Beach State has reached the 20-win plateau for the third time under head coach Dan Monson, and has won 11 of its last 13 games. The Beach has established a school single-season record for three-pointers made with 279.
UC IRVINE AT NORTH DAKOTA (CIT) – UC Irvine is in a postseason tournament for the fourth straight year, and the second time in the CIT. The Anteaters need one more win to set the record for victories in a season. UCI junior 7-6 center Mamadou Ndiaye is No. 3 in Big West history for blocked shots.
LONG BEACH STATE
Headed To NIT: Long Beach State is the first Big West squad to receive an at-large selection to the National Invitation Tournament since the selection process changed in 2005-06. It is LBSU’s eighth trip to the NIT. The program is 2-7 in the NIT all-time.
Monson’s Magic: Head coach Dan Monson has guided the Beach to their third 20-win season during his nine-year tenure. He takes a team that has won 11 of its last 13 contests into Tuesday’s NIT contest at Washington.
Faust On Doorstep Of Top 10: Senior Nick Faust scored 53 points in three Big West Tournament games to increase his season total to 583, which ranks 12th in single-season history at LBSU. He is only eight points from entering the top-10.
Bibbins With The Spark: Sophomore Justin Bibbins, one of the top playmakers in the Big West, has developed into one of the Beach’s most potent offensive threats. He has scored in double figures in eight straight games. As far as distribution, he posted 17 assists against just five turnovers in three conference tournament games.
Postseason Bound: UC Irvine is in a postseason tournament for the fourth year in a row – CollegeInsider.com (2013), NIT (2014), NCAA (2015) and CIT (2016). The Anteaters look to break the single-season school wins record with a successful result in the CIT First Round at North Dakota.
Swat Machine: Junior Mamadou Ndiaye, UCI’s career blocked shots leader and No. 3 in Big West history, has 23 rejections over the last nine games (2.6 bpg). He has registered 84 blocks on the year to rank fifth in Big West single-season history.
Mamadou Part II: Ndiaye is currently the Big West’s career field goal percentage leader. The 7-6 center has made 332 for 494 (.672) in 83 career games. He’s ahead of former Anteater Kevin Magee (1980-82) at .656.
Nelson Lights It Up: Junior Luke Nelson poured in 36 points against Cal Poly in the conference tournament quarterfinals, tying him for second in single-game history. He was one off the record of 37.
UC SANTA BARBARA
Vegas Baby: UC Santa Barbara is entered in the inaugural Vegas 16, an eight-team postseason tournament that runs March 28-30 in Las Vegas. The Gauchos will be making their 13th postseason appearance.
Streak Ended: UCSB had its nine-game winning streak halted in the Big West Tournament semifinals by eventual champion Hawai‘i.
Bryson Now At Seven: Senior Michael Bryson moved up another spot on the UCSB career scoring list, surpassing Mark Hull for seventh all-time as he now has scored 1,594 points. He has a shot at catching Chris Devine (1,607 - 2005-09) for the No. 6 spot during the Vegas 16 tourney.
Sam He Is: Senior Sam Beeler is shooting a Big West-leading 71% (93 of 131) from the field this season.
Churning Out The Assists: The Gaucho trio of Bryson, junior Eric Childress and senior T.J. Taylor have handed out a combined 790 career assists, and all three are ranked among the top 10 of current Big West players.
Champs: Hawai‘i became the first No. 1 seed since Long Beach State in 2012 to hoist the Big West Tournament championship trophy on Saturday at Honda Center. The ‘Bows last won a conference tournament as a member of the WAC in 2002, which was the last year they qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Win Meter: UH’s 27 wins tied a school record, and a 28th win would be the most by a Big West squad since former member Utah State won 28 in 2000-01.
What A Job: First-year head coach Eran Ganot is the Big West record holder for most victories by a rookie Big West coach. The 27 wins eclipse the 24 that legends Jerry Tarkanian (1969-70) and Lute Olson (1973-74) accumulated in their first years at Long Beach State.
A Note On Bobbitt: Senior Roderick Bobbitt is currently the first player in Big West history to lead the circuit in both assists and steals in back-to-back seasons. He is averaging 5.5 assists and 2.2 steals per game this season. Bobbitt had nine steals in three Big West Tournament games.