For the 7th time in the last 16 months the Chico State Wildcats and the Cal State Stanislaus Warriors will a 40 minute (maybe longer) basketball game to determine who advances to the championship game of the CCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament. At stake for the conference champion is an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament which begins the next week in a yet to be determined location.
For the Wildcats and Warriors this match-up is just another in a litany of tremendous match-ups that can be described with such words as stupendous, riveting, spectacular. The two teams have split their previous six match-ups, with most games decided in the waning moments. None more exciting than Chico State’s mystifying 81-80 win in last year’s West Region Championship game propelling them to the Division II Elite Eight.
The other match-ups haven’t been too shabby either. In November of 2013 the Wildcats lost to Stanislaus 80-78 in overtime in Turlock. The Cats would repay the favor one month later with a 88-67 trouncing at Acker Gym.
On March 8th of 2014 in the Championship game of the CCAA Tournament in Ontario the Wildcats would lose to a surging Stanislaus 82-70 ensuring the Warriors a ticket to the NCAA Tournament. The two teams would meet nine days later in San Bernardino for the West Region title. The Warriors held an 18 point lead mid-way through the first half and seemed poised to advance to Evansville, Indiana. But, a furious Chico State rally coupled with a melt-down of epic proportions by Stanislaus gave Chico State the historic win.
This year each team won on the other’s home floor. Chico suffocated Stanislaus with a stellar early season defensive effort beating the Warriors 59-47. One week later the Wildcats appeared ready to sweep the season series leading 26-4 early in the first half but Stanislaus came roaring back and got a Chris Read buzzer beating jumper as time expired to beat Chico in overtime 62-60.
Three of the six games have been decided by two points or less. While today may not be the most important of the seven match-ups, like any Chico State and Stanislaus men’s basketball match-up it holds significance in this renewed rivalry of old Northern California Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAC) schools. Game time is 5:35pm this afternoon and you can hear the game on Newstalk 1290 KPAY with the pre-game show at 5:10
PHOTOS COURTESY of Chico State Athletics at ChicoWildcats.com