Sports Illustrated Predicts NCAA Tournament Berth for Cal State Northridge

Nov. 12, 2008

New York, NY - On the eve of the highly anticipated 2008-09 Cal State Northridge men's basketball season, Sports Illustrated, in its pre-season college basketball preview edition, has predicted a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the Matadors.

Sports Illustrated has predicted the 45 automatic bids and at-large picks that will round out the tournament field, and the prestigious national magazine ranks Cal State Northridge 51st in the nation. Cal State Northridge is the only Big West school ranked among the nation's top 65 teams, and one of only 12 teams from the West that are included in the pre-season list.

North Carolina is ranked first followed by Connecticut, UCLA, Louisville, Purdue, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Duke, Texas and Tennessee. Teams from the West that are ranked in the Sports Illustrated pre-season rankings include Gonzaga (#13), Arizona State (16), USC (#24), St. Mary's (#25), UNLV (#28), Nevada (#38), San Diego (#45), Washington (#46), BYU (#47) and Portland State (#64).

The recognition by Sports Illustrated is just the latest in a series of lofty predictions and a clear sign of respect for the Matadors as they approach the season opener against Cal Lutheran on Friday, November 14, at 7:05 p.m. at The Matadome.

Cal State Northridge is ranked 25th in the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 pre-season poll. The Matadors are only one of four teams from the west to be ranked in the Top 25 among mid-major teams. And for the first time in school history, the Matadors received a vote in the pre-season Associated Press men's basketball poll.

Cal State Northridge is the choice of the Big West coaches and media, and five national pre-season magazines to win the Big West title. The Sporting News, Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook, Lindy's College Basketball Magazine, Athlon Sports College Basketball Magazine and Basketball Times have all picked the Matadors win the Big West title in 2008-09.

The Matadors return four of its top six scorers from last year's team, its top rebounder and scorer, eight lettermen, and the arrival of eight new players and redshirts.

Last year, the Matadors recorded a 20-10 overall record, and captured a share of the Big West regular season title with a 12-4 mark.