Barbara Friday night, will meet BYU (17-11) Thursday at the Marriott
Center in Provo, Utah. Tipoff is 6 p.m. (PST).
"We are excited to have the chance for postseason play," Douglass said
Sunday, after learning he would face a Cougar squad guided by former UCI
player Steve Cleveland (1974-76), with whom Douglass is already
"Steve Cleveland is a friend of mine from when he was the coach at
Fresno City College and I was at Cal State Bakersfield," Douglass said.
The Anteaters are no strangers to the NIT, where they were defeated in
last year's first round at eventual champion Tulsa, 75-71.
That loss, which followed another semifinal setback in the Big West
Tournament, ended a 25-5 campaign that stands as the winningest in school
This year, the Anteaters earned a share of their second straight Big
West regular-season crown, en route to the program's first back-to-back
Douglass wondered aloud after a 72-65 first-round tournament win over
Long Beach State Thursday, whether being forced to win three games in a
week to earn the mid-major conference's lone ticket to the Big Dance,
didn't wrongly minimize four months of work that included so much
UCI, which went 1-1 in NIT appearances in 1982 and '86, the latter
including a first-round win at UCLA, will now try to maximize its second
chance against a BYU squad coming off a disappointing Mountain West
Conference tournament showing.
The Cougers, who won the Mountain West Tournament title last year,
were felled, 62-51, by surprising tournament champion San Diego State in
Thursday's first round at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
It was BYU's first first-round exit since 1998 and extended their
losing streak to three games. Cleveland's Cougers, however, are 15-0 at
home this season, including wins over Big West foes Idaho, Cal State
Northridge, as well as NCAA-bound Creighton, San Diego State, Wyoming and
The Cougers, who defeated then No. 13-ranked Stanford, 81-76, in a
Dec. 22 game in Las Vegas, are led by 6-foot-6 junior guard Travis
Hansen, a second-team All-Mountain West selection averaging 15.4 points
and 6.4 rebounds.