Pac-12 Men’s Basketball to send trio of teams to 2018 NCAA Tournament
SAN FRANCISCO – Three Pac-12 men’s basketball programs earned bids for the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Selection Sunday with ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE and UCLA chosen to represent the league in March Madness. Additionally, five Pac-12 programs were selected for the 2018 National Invitation Tournament, the most-ever for the league.
ARIZONA (27-7) earned the Pac-12’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth on Saturday after defeating USC, 75-61, in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game. The South Region No. 4 seed Wildcats, who are making their 35th all-time tourney appearance, will face No. 13 seed Buffalo in Boise, Idaho on Thursday, March 15. Arizona is the last league member to win the NCAA national championship, capturing the Conference’s 16th men’s basketball title in 1997.
It marks the sixth consecutive bid for the Wildcats and seventh in head coach Sean Miller’s nine seasons in Tucson.
ARIZONA STATE (20-11) and UCLA (21-11) earned at-large bids with both receiving No. 11 seeds beginning their tournaments in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio.
Arizona State, the Midwest Region’s No. 11 seed, will open against Syracuse in the First Four on Wednesday, March 14 at 6:10 p.m. PT. The winner advances to play No. 6 seed TCU in Detroit, Mich. It marks the Sun Devils’ 15th all-time NCAA appearance, their first since 2014, and the second of Bobby Hurley’s head coaching career after he took Buffalo to the 2015 NCAA Tournament.
UCLA, the East Region’s No. 11 seed, will begin against St. Bonaventure in the First Four on Tuesday, March 13 at 6:10 p.m. PT, with the winner moving on to face No. 6 seed Florida in Dallas. It is the 49th all-time appearance for the Bruins, tied for the second-most of any program in the country, including the fourth in head coach Steve Alford’s five seasons in Westwood. UCLA will be looking to return to the Final Four for the first time since the last of three consecutive trips in 2008.
The teams will be competing for a trip to the NCAA Final Four hosted at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, March 31 and April 2.
The Pac-12 is the only conference to advance a member program to the Elite Eight in each of the past four seasons, highlighted by OREGON’s breakthrough to the Final Four last March. The Ducks also reached the regional final in 2016, while Arizona advanced to back-to-back Elite Eights in 2014 and 2015.
Five Pac-12 teams earned berths in the 2018 National Invitation Tournament, the most-ever NIT participants for the league.
USC (23-11) was among the NCAA Tournament’s First Four Out and therefore received a No. 1 seed in the NIT. The Trojans will welcome eighth-seeded UNC Asheville on Tuesday, March 13 on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. PT in their third straight postseason appearance under coach Andy Enfield.
No. 2 seed UTAH (19-11) will host No. 7 UC Davis on Wednesday, March 14 on ESPN3 at 6 p.m. PT. It is the fourth consecutive postseason berth for the Utes and head coach Larry Krystkowiak.
STANFORD (18-15) and OREGON (22-12) both were seeded third. The Cardinal are in the USC quadrant and will host No. 6 seed BYU on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU, while the Ducks are in the Notre Dame quadrant and play host to No. 6 Rider on Tuesday, March 13 at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN3. Oregon coach Dana Altman has taken his team to the postseason in each of his eight seasons in Eugene, while Jerod Haase has Stanford back in the postseason in just his second year.
No. 5 seed WASHINGTON (20-12) joins the Utes in the Saint Mary's (Calif.) quadrant and the Huskies will host fourth-seeded Boise State on Wednesday, March 14 at 7 p.m. PT on ESPN3 as the Broncos' Taco Bell Arena is an NCAA First & Second Round site. It is the Huskies' second NIT bid in the past three years, the first postseason berth for first-year head coach Mike Hopkins.
2018 NCAA Tournament
Tuesday, March 13
No. 11 UCLA vs. No. 11 St. Bonaventure - Dayton, Ohio - 6:10 p.m. PT, truTV
Wednesday, March 14
No. 11 Arizona State vs. No. 11 Syracuse - Dayton, Ohio - 6:10 p.m. PT, truTV
Thursday, March 15
No. 4 Arizona vs. No. 13 Buffalo - Boise, Idaho - 6:40 p.m. PT, CBS
2018 National Invitation Tournament
Tuesday, March 13
No. 1 USC vs. No. 8 UNC Asheville - 8 p.m. PT, ESPN2
No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 6 Rider - 7 p.m. PT, ESPN3
Wednesday, March 14
No. 2 Utah vs. No. 7 UC Davis - 6 p.m. PT, ESPN3
No. 3 Stanford vs. No. 6 BYU - 7 p.m. PT, ESPNU
No. 5 Washington vs. No. 4 Boise State - 7 p.m. PT, ESPN3