UCLA’s last-minute cancellation sends top-seeded GCU Club Men’s Basketball to championship round
By: Jim Howell/GCU Club Sports Information Director
After finishing on the edge of the top 10 in the rankings, the No. 11 Grand Canyon University Club Basketball Purple team will host the National Club Basketball Association (NCBBA) Southern Pacific (SoPac) Regional Championships this weekend. The Lopes-who won the SoPac East Conference title for the first time ever-will host the three-team tournament that will also feature the SoPac North Conference champion, unranked California Polytechnic University, as well as 13th-ranked Arizona State University, who enters the tournament as the ‘at-large’ bid after finishing just behind the Lopes in the SoPac East standings. The three-team field will whittle itself down to two with a 3:30 pm semifinal matchup on Saturday, March 24, with the winner advancing to face top-seeded GCU in the championship game at 10 am on Sunday morning, March 25, to determine who advances to the national tournament next month. All games will be played at Antelope Gym on the GCU campus.
The tournament was originally scheduled to host four teams, but tournament organizers and the NCBBA were notified less than 48 hours before the start of the tournament that the SoPac West Conference champion, 15th-ranked UCLA, would be unable to attend, forcing officials to revamp the format. It benefitted the Lopes in that their top seed would give them a first-round bye and a punched ticket to Sunday’s championship game. However, to ensure that all teams would have two teams to play in the tournament and that each championship participant would play one game on each tournament day, the 6 pm Saturday night game-originally slated as a ‘consolation game’ pitting the losers of the two semifinal matchups against each other-will now see GCU face off against the loser of the 3:30 pm semifinal matchup. The outcome of that game won’t affect the Lopes’ standing for Sunday’s championship.
The Lopes will likely welcome playing that 6 pm game, since they finished their regular season weeks earlier than everyone else (February 11 at Northern Arizona University), and will end a full six weeks of inactivity when they tip off at Antelope Gym Saturday. GCU won two of their three regular season games against ASU, but will face Cal Poly for the first time this weekend.
The revamped schedule of games for the NCBBA SoPac Regional Championships is below, and admission to the tournament is FREE.
NCBBA Southern Pacific Regional Championship Tournament Schedule
Saturday, March 24
|3:30 pm||Cal Poly vs. Arizona State|
|6 pm||Grand Canyon vs. Game 1 Loser|
Sunday, March 25
|10 am||Championship Game:|
|Grand Canyon vs. Game 1 Winner|