Three top-3 seeds among Pac-12's four teams in NCAA Tournament
SAN FRANCISCO – Four Pac-12 men’s basketball programs earned bids for the 2017 NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday, with three teams receiving top-3 seeds for the fourth time in league history. Additionally, three Pac-12 teams were selected to participate in the 2017 National Invitation Tournament.
ARIZONA (30-4) earned the Pac-12’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth on Saturday after defeating OREGON, 83-80, in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game. The West Region No. 2 seed Wildcats, who are making their 34th all-time tourney appearance, will face No. 15 seed North Dakota in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 16. Arizona is the last league member to win the NCAA national championship, capturing the Conference’s 16th men’s basketball title in 1997.
OREGON (29-5) earned an at-large bid as the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region and will open against No. 14 seed Iona at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif., on Friday, March 17. The Ducks are making their 15th appearance, extending their school-record streak with a fifth straight berth.
UCLA (29-4) claimed the No. 3 seed in the South Region and will join OREGON in Sacramento for a first-round matchup against No. 14 seed Kent State on Friday, March 17. It is the 48th all-time appearance for the Bruins, tied for the second-most of any program in the country. UCLA will be looking to return to the Final Four for the first time since the last of three consecutive trips in 2008.
USC (24-9) earned a second straight berth, its 18th all-time bid and first consecutive trips since a stretch of three in a row from 2007-09. The No. 11 seed Trojans will battle Providence in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio on Wednesday, March 15 at 6:10 p.m. PT. The winner will advance to play No. 6 seed SMU at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla., on Friday, March 17.
The Conference also had a trio of top-3 seeds in 1981 (Nos. 1, 2, 3), 1992 (Nos. 1, 2, 3) and 2007 (Nos. 2, 3, 3). UCLA reached its second straight Final Four and OREGON made the Elite Eight in 2007.
The quartet will be competing for a trip to the NCAA Final Four hosted by Conference member ARIZONA STATE at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., April 1 and 3. It marks the first time the event will be held in the West since Seattle in 1995 when UCLA won the last of its 11 national titles.
League member UTAH will host First and Second Round games at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City March 16 and 18, while the Pac-12 Conference will host the West Regional at the SAP Center in San Jose March 23 and 25. For information and tickets for the West Regional, please visit http://pac-12.com/mens-basketball/2017-ncaa-west-regional.
CALIFORNIA (21-12) was among the NCAA Tournament’s First Four Out and therefore will be a No. 1 seed in the National Invitation Tournament. The Golden Bears will host CSU-Bakersfield on Tuesday, March 14 at 8:15 p.m. PT on ESPN2.
Mountain rivals UTAH (20-11) and COLORADO (19-14) were both placed in the Illinois State quadrant. The No. 3 seed Utes will host sixth-seeded Boise State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU, while the No. 5 seed Buffaloes visit fourth-seeded UCF on Wednesday, March 15 at 4 p.m. PT on ESPN3. With victories in the first and second rounds, Utah and Colorado could meet in the quarterfinals for the right to travel to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals and championship.