March 13, 2002
GAME: No. 11 Pennsylvania (25-6) vs. No. 6 California (22-8).
REGIONAL: South, First Round.
TIME: Friday, 3:10 p.m. EST.
SITE: Mellon Arena, Pittsburgh.
California has lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament in three of its last four appearances.
The sixth-seeded Bears will look to avoid that fate this year, as they face 11th-seeded Pennsylvania in the first round of the South Regional.
California reached the Regional semifinals in 1997 before losing to North Carolina. Sandwiched around that were first-round losses to Wisconsin-Green Bay in 1994, to Iowa State in '96, and Fresno State last year. Before that stretch, the Bears reached the second round in '90 and '93.
They were invited to this year's tournament after a 90-78 loss to 15th-ranked Arizona in the semifinals of the Pacific-10 tournament Friday, the Bears' third loss to the Wildcats this season.
"There's something about Arizona that brings out poor defense in us," Cal guard Brian Wethers said.
The Bears didn't have a bad shooting night - hitting 50.8 percent - but they were unable to keep up with Arizona, which shot 57.9 percent and committed only eight turnovers.
The Bears are a strong 3-point shooting team. Ryan Forehan-Kelly shoots a team-best 40.4 percent (40-for-99), followed by leading-scorer Joe Shipp at 35.7 percent (41-for-115), Amit Tamir at 34.2 percent (25-for-73) and Shantay Legans at 30.1 percent (40-for-133).
The Quakers clinched their 20th trip to the NCAA tournament with a 77-58 victory over Yale on Saturday in an Ivy League playoff.
Penn didn't have margin for error after losing three of their first five conference games. But the Quakers won 10 straight, including a 64-48 victory over Princeton on the final day of the regular season on March 5, to force a three-way tie for first place in the Ivy League.
Yale beat Princeton in a playoff Thursday, before losing to Penn.
"We've played very well over the last couple weeks and the team should feel very good about themselves," Penn coach Fran Dunphy said. "We were in a very tough situation so it's a tribute to the kids."
Penn is a little familiar with the Bears, having beaten them 74-71 in a Christmas tournament two years ago.
"We'll look at the tapes and have a good sample of what they do," Dunphy said.
In its last NCAA tournament game two years ago, Penn lost to Illinois 68-58 in the first round.
The winner of this game will face either third-seeded Pittsburgh or 14th-seeded Central Connecticut State in the second round on Sunday.
PROBABLE STARTERS: Pennsylvania - F Ugonna Onyekwe (17.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg), F Koko Archibong (14.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg), G Jeff Schiffner (9.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg), G Andrew Toole (14.0 ppg, 3.6 apg), G Tim Begley (6.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg). California - F Shipp (14.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg), F Solomon Hughes (7.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg), F Jamal Sampson (7.2 ppg, 7.0 rpg), G Legans (7.8 ppg, 3.6 apg), G Brian Wethers (10.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg).
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Pennsylvania - Automatic bid, Ivy League champion. California - At-large bid, Pac-10 Conference.
ALL-TIME TOURNAMENT RECORD: Pennsylvania - 13-20, 19 years. California - 26-15, 15 years.