For the first time since 2014, the Chaminade University men's basketball team is headed to the NCAA West Regional.
The Silverswords (23-7) earned an at-large berth and are the No. 7 seed in the region, held in San Diego, Calif., at Golden Gymnasium, and hosted by No. 1 seed and Pacific West Conference member Point Loma. The 'Swords will face second-seed and Great Northwest Athletic Conference Tournament champion Seattle Pacific this Friday at 2:30 p.m. PST (11:30 a.m. HST).
It is the sixth overall appearance by the 'Swords in the regional and the third for head coach Eric Bovaird.
“When you play for the Chaminade Silverswords whether it’s in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational or the PacWest Championship or the NCAA, you go in knowing that we’re known as the giant killers and we’re not afraid of anybody. We know going into every game whether we’re playing at Arizona or at San Diego State we’re going to beat them and those guys take that mentality to heart and I know that they’re looking forward to putting it into fruition in a couple of days," Bovaird told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
Seattle Pacific is 21-6, finishing second in the GNAC regular season and claimed the conference tournament championship by dispatching Western Oregon on Saturday.
It will be the first meeting between the teams since December 2016 when Chaminade defeated SPU, 87-86, at McCabe Gym on Kiran Shastri's 3-pointer with less than a second remaining.
“I really feel like we do have a legitimate shot to win the whole thing. If we play the way we know that we know how to play and the guys that we have, we can beat anybody on the court. It doesn’t matter who it is that we’re playing. As long as we play our game, we have a chance at winning the whole thing and that is what we’re excited about," said senior guard Nick Anderson.
The winner will meet the survivor of the Saint Martin's-Concordia Irvine winner on Saturday. The regional final will take place on Monday and with it, the West Region's representation into the Division II Elite Eight in Evansville, Ind.
NCAA West Regional (March 15-18), San Diego, Calif.; ALL TIMES LOCAL TO SITE
First Round (Friday, March 15)
12 p.m.: Concordia Irvine (6) vs. Saint Martin's (3)
2:30 p.m.: CHAMINADE (7) vs. Seattle Pacific (2)
5 p.m.: Cal Poly Pomona (5) vs. UC San Diego (4)
7:30 p.m.: Western Oregon (8) vs. Point Loma (1)
Regional Semifinals (Saturday, March 16)
5 p.m: CUI-SMU winner vs. CUH-SPU winner
7:30 p.m.: CPP-UCSD winner vs. WOU-PLNU winner
Regional Final (Monday, March 18)
7:30 p.m.: Semifinal winners (winner advances to Elite Eight)