In 2007, the Roadrunners from Cal State Bakersfield ended a dominant run in NCAA Division II play. On Saturday night in Las Vegas, they came full circle when Dedrick Basile nailed a three-pointer from the left wing with two tenths of a second on the clock to give Cal State Bakersfield its’ first ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. This was their first victory in 12 tries against the powerful WAC frontrunners.
The 57-54 final ended the four year dominance of New Mexico State. However, the Aggies did fight back after trailing 32-22 at halftime. The telling stat in this game was even though the Roadrunners only shot 6 of 13 from the free throw line, they managed to shoot well from the field, going 23 of 54 for 42.6 percent. The Aggies on the other hand managed to shoot a rather anemic 19 of 48, good for only 39.6 percent. Along with Stony Brook 13 hours before, we have two new NCAA Tournament participants. I wish to send my hearty virtual congratulations to both communities, faculties, staff, alumni, and fans–your patience has finally been rewarded!
Rainbow Warriors to make the very long journey east to the Mainland
For the first time since 2002, Hawaii is going luau dancing again thanks to a 64-60 close shave victory over the 49’ers of Long Beach State in the Big West Conference final at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. On numerous occasions in the second half, Long Beach State was afforded several chances–but failed to take advantage either because of sloppy offensive plays and great defense from our friends comprising the 50th State.
The win gave the Rainbow Warriors 27 wins on the season, which matched their last appearance in the Big Dance in 2002–when Riley Wallace brought Hawaii as a 10 seed in the West Regional at the old Reunion Arena in Dallas, where they lost to Xavier by a score of 70-58.
The final act
After we draw sixty minutes closer thanks to the time zone change back to Daylight Savings Time, only two bubble bids are left on this Selection Sunday 2016. They are both detailed in my prior blog regarding the St. Joseph’s Hawks and the Memphis Tigers, since their game against the Connecticut Huskies will be the last game to start before the brackets come out. This will be the first time in at least 26 years that CBS had to wait for other games to become final just moments before the first time announcement of the tournament field.
See you all later on Sunday night for the full bracket analysis, plus some thoughts as given by the coaches and key analysts and reporters from CBS Sports’ two hour expanded Selection Show, which starts a half hour earlier at 5:30 p.m. Eastern time.