Both teams earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament by winning the WCC Tournament held at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion. The women's team defeated Gonzaga 70-66 in the women's championship Sunday, March 9, and the men's team defeated the Bulldogs 69-62 in the men's title game the following night.
The men's team is making its fourth tournament appearance in the program's history and its second in five years. In 2003, the Toreros fell 77-69 to Stanford in the first round.
Sunday, the men's team found out their first round opponent and destination. The No. 13 seed Toreros (21-13) will face No. 4 seed Connecticut (24-8) in the first round Friday at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Fla.
Tip-off is scheduled for approximately noon PST.
USD's first round opponent, Connecticut, is a national powerhouse. The Huskies won national championships in 1999 and 2004, and former players now in the NBA include Ray Allen (Celtics), Richard Hamilton (Pistons) and Ben Gordon (Bulls).
"It's a great opportunity to play a really, really high-level program," men's head coach Bill Grier said. "I think it's great for these kids and the program and the university. It's terrific exposure."
Should the Toreros defeat the Huskies, they will face the winner of Friday's game between No. 5 seed Drake (28-4) and No. 12 seed Western Kentucky (27-6) on Sunday at either 9:10 or 11:40 a.m. The winner of that game will advance to the West regional in Phoenix on March 27 and 29.
The women's team is appearing in the NCAA Tournament for the third time ever and the first time in eight years. In 2000, the Lady Toreros lost 87-61 to Notre Dame in the first round.
Unlike the men's team, the Lady Toreros do not have to travel far for their first round matchup.
On Monday, eight days after earning their automatic bid to the tournament, the women's team found out their fate. The No. 14 seed Lady Toreros (19-12) will face No. 3 seed California (26-6) in the first round Saturday at Maples Pavilion in Stanford, Calif. Opening tip is scheduled for approximately 1:30 p.m. PST and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
"I hope, being so close to home, that we'll be able to get a lot of family and friends and any students that are able to travel up and support us," said senior guard and Mission Bay High School alum Amanda Rego. "Not having to travel very far, that's an advantage for us."
If the Lady Toreros take down the Lady Bears, they will meet the winner of Saturday's game between No. 6 seed George Washington (25-6) and No. 11 seed Auburn (20-11) on Monday. The winner of that game will advance to the Greensboro regional in Greensboro, N.C. on March 30 and April 1.
In the men's tournament, North Carolina, Memphis, UCLA and Kansas are the top seeds. The Tar Heels, coached by Roy Williams, are the national No. 1 seed. UNC's transition offense wears out most opponents, but the key to their success in the tournament will be how much they commit to defense.
North Carolina is led by junior forward Tyler Hansbrough, their on-court leader. The Tar Heels will depend on the health of sophomore guard Ty Lawson, who has not played more than 28 minutes in the six games since returning from an ankle injury March 1.