NCAA: Louisville vs. California in Round One

Louisville, the No. 9 seed in the South Region, will head to Jacksonville, Florida for a first round NCAA Tournament game Friday against No. 8 seed California (23-10).

Louisville was one of eight Big East teams invited to the NCAA Tournament Sunday evening.

The Cardinals, last season's overall top-seed, received the No. 9 seed in the South Region and will play No. 8 seed California in the first round Friday in Jacksonville, Florida.

If Louisville wins the first round game, they likely would play No. 1 seed Duke, the ACC champion, in the second round. No. 1 seeds have never lost a first round game in the NCAA Tournament.

"I'm most pleased for our seniors, including our senior co-captains (Jerry Smith, Edgar Sosa) who have been to four straight NCAA Tournaments, which is a great achievement," said Rick Pitino. "I watched the entire California against Washington game on Saturday and I know Cal has an outstanding team with great guard play. They've been a terrific team all year, particularly when they got healthy. We know we'll have our hands full, but we're really excited to be a part of March madness."

About Cal

California, 2010 Pac-10 regular-season champion, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will play Louisville in a first-round game Friday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Golden Bears (23-10 overall, 13-5 Pac-10) are the No. 8 seed in the South Region, while the Cardinals (20-12, 11-7) are seeded ninth.

The Bears are making their second straight and 16th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, Cal earned a No. 7 seed but fell to 10th-seeded Maryland in the first round in Kansas City, 81-74. The Bears are in the NCAA field for the sixth time in the past 10 years and 11th time in the last 20.

This year's Cal team is led by Pac-10 Player of the Year Jerome Randle, who became the school's all-time leading scorer during the Pac-10 Tournament. He enters the postseason with 1,802 points and an average of 18.7 ppg in 2009-10.

Randle is one of four senior starters who averaged at least 10 ppg and earned All-Pac-10 notice this year. Patrick Christopher, also a first-team choice, contributes 16.0 ppg, along with second-team selections Theo Robertson (14.1 ppg) and Jamal Boykin (12.0 ppg).

The Bears enter the tournament having won six of their last seven and nine of their past 11. Cal reached the final of the Pac-10 Tournament for the second time in its history before losing to Washington, 79-75, in the title game.

Duke Awaits Winner

Duke, the No. 1 seed in the South, probably awaits the winner of the Louisville-California game. That would be an interesting matchup for the Cardinals, who haven't played Duke since beating the Blue Devils 72-69 for the 1986 NCAA championship.

Duke won the ACC regular-season and tournament championships and feature Kyle Singler, Jon Schyer, and Nolan Smith - each averages at least 17 points this year. Smith, the son of former Louisville standout Derek Smith, was heavily recruited by the Cardinals before choosing the Blue Devils.

Duke enters the NCAA Tournament winning 14 of their last 15. Sunday, the Blue Devils beat Georgia Tech 65-61 in the ACC championship game. Duke went 1-1 vs. Big East teams this year, beating UConn and losing to Georgetown.

Big East Leads Field

The Big East placed eight teams into the NCAA Tournament, more than any other conference in the country. The Big 12, with seven teams, boasts the second most teams.

Syracuse, the regular-season Big East champs, earned the No. 1 seed in the West Region. Villanova earned a No. 2 seed in the South Region, while West Virginia is a No. 2 seed in the East Region. Georgetown received the No. 3 seed in the Midwest Region; Pittsburgh is the No. 3 in the West Region. Marquette earned the No. 6 seed in the East Region and Notre Dame the No. 6 in the South. Louisville, despite a sixth-place finish in the Big East regular-season, received the lowest seed of the eight Big East teams heading to the NCAA Tournament.

NCAA Ticket Information

The University of Louisville has received a limited supply of tickets for its appearance in the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament first/second round site at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.

Season ticket holders who submitted NCAA post-season ticket request forms and were selected in the lottery will be contacted by via email on Sunday evening. Those tickets will be available for pickup at the Brown and Williamson Club, located on the third floor of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium, on Tuesday from 6-9 p.m. or Wednesday from 8-11 a.m.

U of L students who entered the ticket lottery will also be notified by email where pick up their tickets in Jacksonville.

U of L will accept additional ticket requests on a waiting list for this NCAA Tournament round by calling (502) 852-5151 or 852-5863 starting Monday at 9 a.m. Limited additional tickets are available for the game through Ticketmaster by calling 1-800-745-3000 or online at www.ticketmaster.com.

Fourth Straight Bid

Louisville is headed to its fourth consecutive NCAA for the first time since 1994-97. Overall, Louisville will be making their 36th NCAA Tournament appearance, tied for fifth for most tournament appearances. The Cardinals are tied for sixth in NCAA Tournament wins with 60. UofL has reached eight Final Fours and has won two NCAA titles.

Only three teams have been to more Sweet 16 appearances than Louisville's 17 since the NCAA began Sweet 16 records in 1975 (North Carolina 23, Kentucky 20, and Duke 20; UCLA and Kansas also have 17).

Louisville coach Rick Pitino has a 38-13 record in NCAA Tournament play (.745), ranking him third among active coaches in winning percentage and 11th all time. Only six coaches have coached more Final Four teams than Pitino's five, a feat matched by four others. Pitino is the only coach to lead three different teams to the Final Four; is one of only six coaches to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament; and one of 12 active collegiate coaches who have won an NCAA Championship. Pitino has guided Louisville to the NCAA Tournament in seven of the past eight years.

Stay tuned for more NCAA Tournament coverage.


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