Mar 4, 2024 - News

GCU seeks another March Madness appearance

A basketball player dunks the ball during a game.

GCU's Sydney Curry dunks in December. Photo: Christopher Hook/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Grand Canyon University is knocking on the door of another NCAA Tournament appearance this year.

State of play: The Lopes had their final home game of the regular season Saturday, defeating Stephen F. Austin. The win gives GCU a perfect home record for the first time since the 1991-92 season.

  • They're narrowly leading the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), and whoever wins the upcoming tournament will likely be its only March Madness team.
  • Their final regular season game is Saturday against California Baptist.

Zoom in: Head coach Bryce Drew told Axios GCU is bolstered by a key group of returning players from last year's tournament team.

  • They include Ray Harrison and Gabe McGlothan, along with a group of five transfers that includes Tyon Grant-Foster, the WAC's leading scorer.
  • "I think the chemistry, it really meshed together from Day One," he said.

What's next: The Lopes have to win only two conference tournament games for the WAC title. The tournament begins March 13.

  • The fine print: The WAC uses a seeding system rather than traditional standings to determine seeds for the tournament.

Between the lines: The high-scoring Lopes are averaging 79.9 points per game, and Drew touted their aggressiveness in attacking the rim, noting they're top 10 in the country in drawing fouls.

  • One thing he'd like to see improve heading into the conference tournament is the team's defense.

The big picture: GCU is seeking its third NCAA tournament appearance in four years, but they have yet to win a March Madness game.

  • They fell in the first round last year to Gonzaga and lost to Iowa in their tournament debut in 2021.

Zoom out: Elsewhere in Arizona's men's college basketball scene, the Wildcats are ranked sixth nationally, and the only question is what their seed will be in the tourney.

  • ASU is 14-15 and seems highly unlikely to make the dance, barring a deep run in the Sun Devils' final Pac-12 tournament.
  • Creighton, which is based in Nebraska but has a major presence in Arizona, is ranked 12th and will make the tournament.
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