For just the eighth time in program history, the Sonoma State University men’s basketball team has qualified for the NCAA Div. II National Basketball Tournament.
Earning the No. 7 seed with a 20-8 record, the Seawolves will play No. 2 seed and PacWest Conference Tournament champion Hawaii Pacific (28-2) today, March 10, at 2:30 p.m., in the first round of the West Regional at RIMAC Arena on the campus of UC San Diego in La Jolla.
Should the Seawolves emerge victorious, they’ll play the winner of today’s game between No. 3 seed Western Washington and sixth-seeded Chico State on Saturday, March 11, at 5 p.m.
Top-seeded UC San Diego (25-5) captured hosting duties after winning the California Collegiate Athletic Association regulars season and CCAA Tournament titles; the Tritons will open the tournament against No. 8 seed Dixie State (19-8).
The rest of the bracket pits No. 4 seed California Baptist (25-4) against No. 5 seed San Francisco State (25-5), also today.
SSU has its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 11 seasons, the last appearance being in 2005-06, and its eighth all-time appearance. Sonoma has a 3-8 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament, the last win coming on March 4, 1983.
The Seawolves, who have the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense, allowing a miniscule 57.2 points per game, will enter today’s matchup against the nation's 21st-ranked scoring offense at 87.1 points per game in Hawaii Pacific. The HPU Sea Warriors are also No. 4 in the nation in scoring margin as they defeat their opponents, on average, by 19.1 points. The Seawolves and Sea Warriors have only faced each other twice in their respective histories, the last meeting was back on Nov. 20, 2009 in Rohnert Park when HPU won 77-76. Sonoma won the only other contest between the two schools, a 70-58 victory on Nov. 23, 2007 in Chico.