Grand Canyon, Long Beach earn at-large bids to NCAA Tournament

Photo courtesy of Grand Canyon athletics

The season continues for Long Beach State and Grand Canyon.

Both the Beach and the Antelopes received the two at-large bids to the seven-team NCAA Tournament field that was announced on Sunday afternoon.

Along with making the NCAA Tournament, the two teams will face each other in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday, May 2. This will be the first time in the history of the NCAA Tournament that two at-large bids will play each other in the opening round.


Long Beach State lost in the Big West Tournament semifinals, but earned a spot in the tournament field behind its No. 4 RPI ranking – the highest ranking of any non-automatic qualifier. The Beach during the regular season also had victories against Penn State and Hawai’i to bolster its record in the criteria category of record against teams under NCAA Tournament consideration.

The Antelopes earned the final at-large bid and their first trip to the NCAA Tournament in program history.

Grand Canyon went undefeated in the regular season against every team projected to be under consideration for an at-large bid, including going 2-0 against both BYU and UC Irvine. The Antelopes also were No. 5 in the RPI rankings and had a better strength of schedule than the Cougars.

The winner of the Grand Canyon and Long Beach State will play the No. 1 seed UCLA in the NCAA Tournament semifinals on Thursday, May 4.

UCLA edged out Hawai’i and Penn State for the top seed. The Rainbow Warriors received the No. 2 seed and a bye to the NCAA Tournament semifinals, while the Nittany Lions will be the defacto No. 3 seed in the opening round.

Penn State will play the winner of the Ohio State and King opening round match that will take place on Sunday, April 30.