UC Davis will represent Big West in NCAA “play-in” game
Capping a season filled with unpredictable outcomes in the Big West Conference, it was probably fitting that UC Davis emerged as the champion.
The Aggies defeated UC Irvine to win the Big West Conference Tournament title on Saturday, and earn the program’s first appearance in the NCAA Division I Championship Tournament. What’s more, UC Davis will have a good shot to win at least one game in the tournament because the Aggies were placed in one of the “play-in” games for the NCAA Tournament.
UC Davis (22-12) will face North Carolina Central (25-8) on Wednesday at Dayton, Ohio, in a play-in game for a 16 seed to the Midwest Region. The winner will advance to play No. 1 seed Kansas on Friday at Tulsa, Okla.
UC Davis was picked to finish fifth in the Big West Preseason Poll. The Aggies finished second in the regular season, and then knocked off top seed UC Irvine, 50-47, in the tournament championship game. They advanced to the final with a buzzer-beating putback by Chima Moneke in an overtime semifinal win over Cal State Fullerton.
The Aggies are the seventh different championship team in the last seven years from the Big West Conference Tournament. The last seven team to represent the Big West at the NCAA Tournament are: UC Santa Barbara (2011), Long Beach State (2012), Pacific (2013), Cal Poly (2014), UC Irvine (2015), Hawai’i (2016) and UC Davis (2017).
Two other Big West Conference teams earned postseason invitations this season: UC Irvine in the NIT, and Cal State Fullerton in the CollegeInsiders.com Tournament (CIT).
Hawai’i finished its season at 14-16 after a loss to Long Beach State in the first round of the Big West Tournament.
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