Coastal battle: Cal and South Florida preview and open thread
I will say, it seems a bit strange that a pair of major-conference teams are battling it out to take on a pseudo mid-major in the second round. (Okay, so the Pac-12 was worse then most mid-major conferences this year, and the Atlantic-10 isn't exactly a mid-major, but still...).
The Golden Bears sputtered down the stretch, but managed to make the tournament despite not winning the Pac-12 regular season or the Pac-12 Tournament. They are led by Pac-12 Player of the Year, senior combo guard Jorge Gutierrez.
South Florida looked to be in bubble trouble after falling in the Big East Tournament in overtime to Notre Dame, after blowing a lead down the stretch, but the Bulls snuck into the NCAAs nonetheless.
They are a defensive-minded team that likes to play its games in the 50s. They don't have a single player who averages double-digit points. If the game comes down to a South Florida player taking a big shot, it's unclear who that player would be.
The No. 12 seed play-in game is an interesting one, because 12 seeds often give No. 5 seeds a lot of trouble in the first round and have been known to make deep tournament runs--unlike No. 16 seeds. Thus this game is worth watching and has definite bracket implications.
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No. 12 California vs. No. 12 South Florida, Wednesday, 9:10 p.m. ET, Dayton, Ohio