GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY

GCU basketball’s path set as No. 4 seed in WAC Tournament

Mar 7, 2022, 5:52 PM

Head coach Bryce Drew of the Grand Canyon Lopes cuts down the net after defeating the New Mexico St...

Head coach Bryce Drew of the Grand Canyon Lopes cuts down the net after defeating the New Mexico State Aggies following the championship game of the Western Athletic Conference basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 13, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Lopes defeated the Aggies 74-56. (Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Buglewicz/Getty Images)

The 2022 WAC Men’s Basketball Tournament tips off on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon won’t start playing until the “second round” of the tournament on Thursday at 6 p.m., though, which is actually the third day of games for the tourney.

GCU finished the regular season with a 22-7 overall record while going 13-5 to finish fourth in the Western Atheltic Conference.

As the No. 4 seed, the ‘Lopes get a bye to the final six teams of the WAC Tournament, which will give them a rest advantage of one or two days depending on the opponent.

No. 8 seed California Baptist and No. 9 seed UT Rio Grande Valley tip off the tourney at 6 p.m. on Tuesday in the opening round, with the winner slated to play No. 5 seed Sam Houston in the first round on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The winner of Wednesday’s contest against Sam Houston will play No. 4 seed GCU in the second round on Thursday at 6 p.m. The ‘Lopes split with Sam Houston on the season, falling 58-56 on the road on Jan. 22 before winning 67-41 at home on Feb. 26.

Should Grand Canyon advance, the ‘Lopes will play No. 1 seed New Mexico State in the semifinals at 6 p.m. on Friday. GCU was swept by New Mexico State this season, dropping Jan. 29’s contest on the road 71-61 before falling at home 82-66 on Feb. 19.

And if the ‘Lopes were to win their first two games of the tourney, they would play in the WAC Tournament championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The other side of the bracket sees No. 2 seed Seattle, No. 3 seed Stephen F. Austin and No. 6 seed Abilene Christian all awaiting the winner of No. 7 seed Utah Valley vs. No. 19 Chicago State in the opening-round matchup.

The WAC Tournament champion will clinch an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament, which GCU did last year as regular-season conference champions as well.

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