BERKELEY – California has accepted a bid to the 2014 National Invitation Tournament (NIT) and will host Utah Valley in a first-round game at 7:30 p.m. (PT) Wednesday at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. The game will be televised on ESPN3.
Tickets for Wednesday's contest go on sale starting Monday (March 17) from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. to donors/season ticket holders, and the general public at 2 p.m. Fans can purchase tickets by clicking here.
“It’s a pretty impressive field,” California head men’s basketball coach Mike Montgomery said. “If you look at the field, this is a tournament filled with teams with a proud basketball tradition. Dick Hunsaker and I have known each other for a long time. That team will be very well prepared and very well organized. We’re going to have to be sure that we come out and play hard.”
The Golden Bears, who are seeded No. 2 in their region of the bracket, enter the NIT with a 19-13 overall record, while the Wolverines are seeded No. 7 with a 20-11 record on the year. The winner of the Cal-Utah Valley game will play the winner of No. 3 seeded Arkansas-No. 6 seeded Indiana State in the second round.
Cal and Utah Valley have played just once previously with the Golden Bears defeating the Wolverines, 85-51, on Dec. 28, 2009 in the Golden Bear Classic at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif.
Cal is participating in the NIT for the eighth time and owns a 12-6 record in the event. The Bears are making their first appearance in the NIT since 2011, when they defeated Mississippi in the first round before falling at Colorado in the second round. They won the championship in 1999 and reached the quarterfinals in both 1987 and 2000. Cal's NIT berth in 1986 marked the school's first postseason appearance since the NCAA runner-up squad of 1960. Cal also advanced to the second round in 1989 and 2008.
Cal reached the semifinals in 1999 with a home win over Fresno State (79-71) at the Oakland Arena, a 17-point comeback at DePaul (58-57) and another victory in Oakland over Colorado State (71-62). The Bears met a familiar foe in Oregon in the semis in New York. Although Cal lost both regular-season games to the Ducks, it prevailed, 85-69, behind 22 points from Mike Gill. The Bears then edged Clemson, 61-60, for the title, going ahead when Geno Carlisle hit a free throw to complete a three-point play with 4.7 seconds left. Lampley, who had 16 points vs. Clemson, was named the NIT's MVP.
Including the NCAA Tournament, this marks Cal's 26th postseason appearance. Head coach Mike Montgomery has guided the Bears to four NCAA Tournaments berths and two NIT bids in his first six seasons at Cal. Last season, Cal advance to the third round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual Final Four participant Syracuse.
Senior guard Justin Cobbs leads four Golden Bears in double-figures in the scoring column at 15.8 ppg. The First Team All-Pac-12 selection is one of the nation’s assist leaders, averaging 5.8 apg. Sophomore guard Tyrone Wallace (11.3 ppg.), junior forward David Kravish (11.2 ppg.) and senior center Richard Solomon (11.0 ppg.) round out the Bears’ balanced scoring attack. Solomon led the conference in rebounding at 10.2 rpg. during the regular season and entered the week as one of just three individuals in the six power conferences to average a double-double for the year. Cal tied for third in the Pac-12 with a 10-8 conference record. The Bears dropped a 59-56 decision to Colorado in the conference tournament in Las Vegas this past Thursday.
As the WAC regular season champions, the Utah Valley Wolverines received an automatic bid to the NIT. Utah Valley finished the season 20-11 overall and 13-3 in the WAC, following a loss in the semifinal round of their conference tournament to Idaho.
The 2014 NIT field features 32 teams seeded 1-8 in four different regions. The first three rounds of the NIT are played at host school sites, starting with the opening round March 18-19. Second-round games will be contested March 20-24 and quarterfinals March 25-26. The semifinals and final are set for April 1 and 3 at Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y.
For more information on the NIT, visit www.ncaa.com/championships/basketball-men/nit.
Cal's History in the NIT
Loyola Marymount 80, California 75 - Berkeley, Calif.
California 72, Cal State Fullerton 68 OT - Berkeley, Calif. California 65, Oregon State 62 - Corvallis, Ore. Arkansas-Little Rock 80, California 73 - Pine Bluff, Ark.
California 73, Hawaii 57 - Berkeley, Calif. Connecticut 73, California 72 - Hartford, Conn.
California 79, Fresno State 71 - Oakland, Calif. California 58, DePaul 57 - Rosemont, Ill. California 71, Colorado State 62 - Oakland, Calif. California 85, Oregon 69 - New York, N.Y. California 61, Clemson 60 - New York, N.Y.
California 70, Long Beach State 66 - Berkeley, Calif. California 60, Georgetown 49 - Berkeley, Calif. Wake Forest 76, California 59 - Greensboro, N.C.
California 68, New Mexico 66 - Berkeley, Calif. Ohio State 73, California 56 - Columbus, Ohio
California 77, Mississippi 74 – Berkeley, Calif. Colorado 89, California 72 – Boulder, Colo.