March 18, 2010
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On the day before its first-round NCAA Tournament matchup against Louisville, the California men's basketball team was busy with press conferences, one-on-one interviews and an open shootaround at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, followed by a closed practice at Jacksonville University. The Golden Bears face the Louisville Cardinals in the final game of the first round in the Jacksonville bracket of the NCAA Tournament's South Region Friday night, with tipoff estimated at 6:55 p.m. PT.
The winner of Friday's game between No. 8 seed Cal and No. 9 seed Louisville will face the winner of top South seed Duke vs. No. 16 seed Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which immediately precedes the Bears' contest. The second-round contest would take place Sunday at a time yet to be announced.
The regional semifinals and final will be held in Houston, Texas, March 26 and 28, with the Final Four in Indianapolis April 3 and 5.
Before Friday's meeting with the Cardinals, the Bears will have another private shootaround before the team heads to the arena, where the Cal dance team and straw hat band will add to the pageantry of the occasion.
With its first conference championship since 1960 in hand, California is on its 16 trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Bears have an all-time record of 18-15 in the NCAA Tournament, which includes the 1959 national championship and a runner-up finish in 1960. More recently, Cal reached the Sweet 16 in 1993 and '97 and the second round in both 2002 and '03. Last season, Cal returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006, falling to Maryland in the first round.
This year's Cal squad finished the regular season with a 23-10 overall record and a 13-5 mark in the Pac-10 to claim the Pac-10 crown by one game over runner-up Arizona State.