Top-Seeded CLU Scheduled to Open on Road
Cal Lutheran will enter the NCAA Division III men’s basketball playoffs as the West region’s top-seeded team, but the Kingsmen are scheduled to play on the road in a second-round game Saturday after a first-round bye.
The Division III selection committee announced Sunday that Cal Lutheran (24-2) would play at the winner of Thursday’s Pomona-Pitzer-UC San Diego game in the second round, but Kingsmen Coach Mike Dunlap was appealing that decision Sunday night.
“I’m very disappointed, but it’s not a dead issue yet,” Dunlap said.
Cal Lutheran was expected to play host to a second-round game, but the size of the court (smaller than the standard 94 x 50 feet) and the small seating capacity (800) at Cal Lutheran’s gymnasium did not meet the NCAA’s specifications for a playoff site.
Moorpark College was available as a substitute court, but it could be guaranteed only for an afternoon game as Moorpark could be playing host to a Southern California regional basketball final that night if the Raiders defeat Southwestern on Wednesday.
The Division III playoff committee believed it was unfair for the Pomona-Pitzer-UC San Diego winner to have to play Saturday afternoon after playing its first-round game Thursday night so they determined that the winner of that game will play host to Cal Lutheran at 7:30.
Dunlap proposed that the site be changed to Occidental College, which played host to Saturday’s Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference playoff game between Cal Lutheran and Pomona-Pitzer.
“We’re not optimistic, but that’s what we’re proposing,” Dunlap said.
“My big complaint is that the NCAA did not give us a window of opportunity to select a different site. If the site we chose was going to be a problem, they should have given us until a certain time to come up with an alternate site.”
Cal Lutheran will be favored wherever the game is played.
The Kingsmen defeated UC San Diego, 100-79, at home earlier this season and they split the regular-season series with Pomona-Pitzer before winning the SCIAC playoff game, 83-62.