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March 16, 2008The official NCAA RPI had them pegged as a #5 seed but the NCAA selection committee kicked it up a notch and gave the Washington State University Cougar men's hoop team a raise a #4 seed for their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Not only were the Cougars, 24-8 overall on the year, awarded favorable seeding but they were rewarded with a trip to Denver, rather than being sent to Omaha, where they will play the 13th-seeded Winthrop Eagles, champions of the Big South Conference, on Thursday.
Wazzu, a senior-heavy team, will play another senior-laden line-up in Winthrop. The Eagles are led by senior guard Michael Jenkins, who went off for 33 points went off for 33 points in leading Winthrop to their win over UNC-Asheville and their fourth straight trip to the Big Dance. The Eagles will also be receiving contributions from other sources as nine players averaged in double digits in playing time this year for the Eagles and eight of those nine started at least two games.
For the Cougars, the strength of portions of their non-conference schedule proved to be the impression-makers with the selection committee. Wazzu did not lose a single non-conference game and recorded wins over four conference regular season or tournament champions - Boise State, Gonzaga, Mississippi Valley State and Portland State. Additionally, they played another team - Baylor - which received an at-large berth to the Big Dance, making nearly half their non-conference schedule composed of post-season participants.
The Cougars will be the #4 seed and will play #13 seed Winthrop in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at 4:20 p.m. on Thursday, March 20 in Denver.
+++++++sponsored by Clark's Restaurant+++++++++
Attention COUGAR fans and well-wishers! Hoop season is here! How can you afford to go one day further without some tasty morsels from Clark's Restaurant in Grays Harbor - home of the Best Hamburger in Twin Harbors for nine consecutive years? Come in for the burger, fresh homemade fries and milkshakes concocted from homemade ice cream. Go ahead, we dare you to try and pass up more than 12 varieties of hamburgers to choose from, full dinners, lunch and full breakfast served daily. Clark's Restaurant 360.538.1487. Seven miles south of Aberdeen, Washington on Highway 101. Proud supporter of CougZone. Mention this ad for a free small ice cream.