One of the final automatic qualifiers for the NCAA Division I Tournament after capturing the program's first Big West Conference Tournament title late Saturday evening, the Cal Poly men's basketball team will be one of the first programs to compete in postseason play as the Mustangs will face fellow No. 16 seed Texas Southern on Wednesday, March 19 in the First Four. The first-round NCAA Tournament matchup inside UD Arena in Dayton, Ohio, is scheduled for 3:40 p.m. PT with action televised on truTV.
One of four first-round matchups slated for Dayton, the Cal Poly-Texas Southern winner will advance to face top-seeded Wichita State in the second round on Friday, March 21 at the Scottrade Center in St Louis. That matchup will air on CBS with tip time yet to be determined.
As the Big West Conference's automatic qualifier, Cal Poly (13-19) is making the program's first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance. The lowest seeded team in the 39-year history of the Big West Tournament to win the competition, Cal Poly toppled central coast rival UC Santa Barbara (69-38) in Thursday's quarterfinal, ousted top-seeded UC Irvine (61-58) in Friday's semifinal and, in Saturday's championship game, the Mustangs edged fifth-seeded Cal State Northridge (61-59) to reach the NCAA Tournament.
Cal Poly's First Four opponent, Texas Southern (19-13), is making its fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, but first since 2003. The Houston-based Tigers reached the First Four by knocking off Prairie View A&M in Saturday's Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament title game, 78-73.
A Final Four participant last season, Wichita State (34-0) – the first undefeated team to enter the NCAA Tournament since UNLV in 1991 – is the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament champion.
Cal Poly has never previously faced either Texas Southern or Wichita State and no No. 16 seed in the history of the NCAA Tournament has toppled a No. 1 seed.
Alongside Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion North Carolina Central, Cal Poly is one of two programs making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2014.
While Cal Poly is making the program's first NCAA Division I Tournament appearance, the Mustangs are appearing in the postseason for the second successive year after qualifying for the 2013 CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
Prior to transitioning to the Division I level for the 1994-95 season, Cal Poly made seven NCAA Division II Tournament appearances. Cal Poly's best postseason showing in program history was a 1981 NCAA Division II Tournament third-place finish.