Cal men’s basketball is about to go dancing.
The Bears have officially been announced as a four seed in South region of the NCAA Tournament, the highest seed in the tournament in school history. The team will play 13-seeded Hawaii on Friday in Spokane, Washington. If Cal wins its first game, the team will go on to face the winner of No. 5 Maryland/No. 12 South Dakota State. If the team moves on there, it is a possibility that the Bears will have to face the No. 1 overall seed Kansas.
“After three long years of waiting, waiting and waiting, it’s a great time to be a Bear right now. Have a four seed, getting a great opportunity to make a run, really looking forward to have a chance to play on the west coast for our first game,” said junior guard Jabari Bird. “We have a great matchup against Hawaii, just looking to have some fun.”
Cal’s ranking as a four seed came as a bit of a shock as most predictions had the team making it as a fifth seed instead. Part of what may have contributed to the Bears’ higher seed is the fact that the team defeated the No. 1 seed in the West, Oregon, at home Feb. 11 by 20 points. The Bears also almost beat No. 1 seed in the Midwest, Virginia, at the Cavaliers’ home court Dec. 22, only falling in overtime by one point.
With the collection of senior guard Tyrone Wallace and star freshmen Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb, the team has a real chance to make a mark on the tournament this year, in possibly all three players’ only opportunity to do so.
“This is what everybody plays for, to get to the Big Dance with a chance to win one,” Wallace said. “At this point in the season, anyone can get hot; you need guys to make shots and you win. … This is partially what I came back for, in order to have a chance to make a big run. I’m definitely excited to be in it.”