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NC State to face California Friday in Dallas in NCAA Tournament

Posted Monday, March 13, 2006

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Wolfpack ties school record with fifth consecutive NCAA bid; game time is 6:20 p.m. central time.

Raleigh, NC - When it makes its school-record-tying fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, NC State (21-9) will be facing a familiar first-round foe.

California, the team that won an opening-round thriller over the Wolfpack three years ago, will again stand in the Pack's way on Friday in Dallas.Tip-off is set for 6:20 p.m. central time.

NC State was selected as the No. 10 seed in the Atlanta Regional, while the Golden Bears are a No. 7 seed.

The Wolfpack is one of only 15 programs in the 65-team field that has been to five consecutive tournaments. NC State and Duke are the ACC's only representatives that have been in the NCAA field that many consecutive years.

The only other time in school history that the Wolfpack got five straight NCAA bids was from 1985-89, when Jim Valvano was the coach.

"Our guys are really excited about earning an NCAA bid again," Wolfpack head coach Herb Sendek said. "You realize what a great accomplishment it is. There are so many quality teams around the country. Our guys are excited about being in the field again."

Only two current NC State players were on the roster when the Golden Bears eliminated the Wolfpack in 2003: Cameron Bennerman was a freshman that year, while Ilian Evtimov was out of action because of a knee injury.

NC State enters this year's tournament on a four-game losing skid, a streak that was extended with a loss to Wake Forest in the quarterfinals of the ACC Tournament on Friday.

"We have had a great body of work," Sendek said. "We have had an excellent season and I think you have to take a full account of the season. That is why we are in the field. "I think what we have to do is celebrate the body of work this team has accomplished and look forward to a fun, exciting NCAA Tournament and feel good about the berth and the opportunity we have."

Cal (20-10) enters NCAA Tournament play on the heels of a lopsided 71-52 loss to UCLA in the Pac-10 championship game Saturday night in Los Angeles.

The Bears are led by 6-8 forward Leon Powe, who averages 20.7 points and 10 rebounds per game. Ayinde Ubaka, a 6-4 junior, is producing 14.8 points per contest. Guard Richard Midgley, who delivered the winning points with a clutch 3-pointer against NC State in 2002, averages 8.8 points per game.

Should NC State advance with a victory on Friday, it would come back to face the winner of the match-up between second-seeded Texas and No. 15 Pennsylvania on Sunday.

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NC State to face California Friday in Dallas in NCAA Tournament
photo by Gene Galin

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