Cal fans were downright giddy with their first-round NCAA Tournament matchup with UNLV -- and even happier about the location.
Many neutral spectators immediately seized on the Selection Committee's strange decision to seed UNLV against California in San Jose: not only is it a rematch of a game that already took place earlier in the year, something the committee is supposed to avoid in the first few rounds, but it puts the Bears, the lower-seeded team, just a short drive away from their tourney site. California Golden Blogs had no problem with the pairing:
CBS made us wait a bit, but the Bears will be dancing. And, frankly, the committee gave the Bears a gift. For the first time in forever, Cal is the team playing in their own backyard, in San Jose. If we all don't make Silicon Valley Bear Territory next weekend, then we should all be ashamed of ourselves.
For those without Google Maps: San Jose is 46 miles from Berkeley and 523 miles from UNLV. Yeah, it'll be a real neutral site.
In the blink of an eye, the Golden Bears went from potentially being snubbed -- they had an RPI of 51 and a lower Kenpom ranking than multiple teams that didn't get selected, such as Maryland, Southern Mississippi, and Kentucky -- to facing arguably the most favorable matchup of any 12 seed. After all, this game was pretty close the first time it happened, with California Golden Blogs calling the Rebels "a team we know the Bears are capable of beating." Not a bad result for Cal fans.
Mountain West blogger Jeremy Mauss felt the pairing was an example of MWC teams getting the short end of the stick across the bracket.