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March 10, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons with today's selection to the 2002 Championships, as announced by the NCAA this afternoon. As the West Region's 11th seed, Santa Clara will open the tournament against sixth-seeded Louisiana State. The game will air live on ESPN2 at 8:36 p.m. PST on Friday, March 15.
The Broncos earned one of 33 at-large bids and will travel to the University of Colorado in Boulder, the host of the first two rounds. The winner of that contest will face the winner of the Colorado-Southern game in the second round for the right to advance to the Sweet 16.
Santa Clara's at-large selection marked the fifth time since 1994 that the West Coast Conference has had two teams in the big dance. Pepperdine, the West Region's eighth seed, earned the WCC's automatic bid by winning the league championship.
The Broncos, who posted their fifth-straight 20-win season with a victory over San Diego to open the tournament, are currently 21-9 overall and hold a 39 RPI. Santa Clara has defeated such non-league, nationally-ranked opponents as then-No. 19 Washington and then-25th-ranked Utah, as well as 2002 Atlantic-10 Conference Champion Temple. Santa Clara has never faced LSU or Southern, and lost its only meeting against Colorado back in 1987.
LSU is 17-11 on the season and advanced to the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship by upsetting Tennessee. Colorado the host school, is the tournament's third seed. Like the Broncos, the Buffaloes are 21-9 on the season. CU is making its 10th appearance to the Big Dance and is one of seven Big 12 teams in the tournament. They will face the Jaguars of Southern University, winners of the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament. Southern is 26-4 on the season.
The NCAA Tournament continues through the Regionals, held March 23 and 25 and then on to the Final Four, hosted this year by UT San Antonio at the Alamodome on March 29 and 31. The semifinal games begin March 29, with the championship slated for a 5:30 p.m. start on March 31. The title contest will air live on ESPN.