March 12, 2000
BERKELEY - Cal, the 1999 NIT champion, gets a chance to defend its title this year with another berth to the postseason tournament.
The Bears (16-14 overall, 7-11 Pac-10) will host Long Beach State (24-5 overall, 15-1 Big West) Wednesday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Haas Pavilion. The matchup will be the first ever between the schools.
Tickets for the Cal-Long Beach State game will go on sale Monday morning at 8:30 a.m. Season ticket holders and Bear Backers may call the Cal Athletic Ticket Office at 800-GO BEARS to order tickets, while the general public may purchase tickets for $22.00 through any BASS outlet or on-line at www.tickets.com. Cal student tickets are $5 and are available through the Cal Ticket Office.
Cal is making its fifth trip to the National Invitation Tournament. In addition to last year, the Bears played in the NIT in 1986, 1987 and 1989, reaching the quarterfinals in '87.
During the 1999 run, Cal started with a 79-71 victory over Fresno State at the New Arena in Oakland. After a 58-57 win at DePaul, the Bears returned home for a 71-62 triumph over Colorado State.
In the semifinals held at Madison Square Garden in New York, Cal upended Oregon, 85-69, before knocking off Clemson, 61-60, in the championship game. Junior forward Sean Lampley was voted Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
Although Cal and Long Beach have not played each other, they do have several common opponents. The Bears defeated USC twice during the year, while the 49ers beat the Trojans, 76-66, in December. Cal also owns wins over UC Irvine and Pacific, and Long Beach beat both of those teams twice each in conference action.
In addition to Cal, the remainder of the first round games are: Tulane at North Carolina State, Wake Forest at Vanderbilt, Georgetown at Virginia, Delaware at Villanova, Michigan at Notre Dame, Rutgers at Kent, Princeton at Penn State, Marquette at Xavier, Bowling Green at Brigham Young, New Mexico State at Arizona State, North Carolina Charlotte at Mississippi, South Florida at New Mexico, Massachusetts at Siena, Southern Illinois at Colorado, and Southern Methodist at Southwest Missouri State.
The second round matchups will be posted when they become available.