The prize awaiting the victor of the game UC-Davis (22-12) plays at 5:40 p.m. Wednesday against North Carolina-Central (25-8) at UD Arena is an opportunity to meet top-seeded Kansas (28-4).That game is scheduled Friday in the Midwest Region at BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Chima Moneke had 18 points and 12 rebounds as UC Davis won in its first NCAA Tournament appearance, beating North Carolina Central.
Should Les, now the coach of UC Davis, be able to beat Bill Self and the Jayhawks again when they meet Friday, the 11th anniversary of that shocker, there will be many more smiles for the Aggies and their fans.
The Wildcats wrapped up their second NCAA Division II West Region Championship over the past four seasons with three-straight wins over higher seeds this week, culminating with a win over UC San Diego - the league's regular season and postseason tournament champions.
All the hype in the Chicago area this week has been around Northwestern punching its first ever ticket to the NCAA tournament.
Previous experience in the NCAA Tournament is invaluable, as much for coaches as players.
Their game against UC Davis tips off at 6:40 p.m.
"And we're just proud of how far he came so far throughout his year, and we're just focused on today and we're not really anxious about anything off the court".
"It's a dream come true, " guard Elijah Long said. "Tough loss, tough way to end the year, but we're excited to be back in the same position, and we're ready to play". We got some good practice. They had a charter flight waiting after the game. "When that ball goes up on Friday I'm not going to be thinking about what seeds [we are facing] - we're going to be playing basketball, competing at basketball, and like I said, the chips will fall where they may".
As for the Aggies, they seem ready to dance with the Jayhawks.
"Being freshmen, past year we didn't know what to expect coming into the game". Les took his alma mater, Bradley, to the Sweet 16 in 2006. "If I can give them a snapshot of what they're going to experience and so they can kind of mentally prepare so they're not surprised". "A lot of the teams in the nation don't get the opportunity to play in the tournament".
"I told the guys at the beginning of the season: Your season is going to come down to one possession", Moton said. "But, to me, he's always given everything he's got on the court". But with Wichita State's convincing win over Seton Hall a day earlier, the little guys went 2-2 in the first round.
Jackson did explain that he feels like he "made a couple mistakes that could have been avoided, small mistakes" but said there's nothing he can do about it now. So I'm not sure back in the day I would have got into UC Davis, so they're a lot smarter than their coach.
"But I feel we've got a good grasp on it and we've got a lot of things figured out", Jackson added. "A lot of people have been coming out of nowhere and congratulating me and sending me friend requests on Facebook and stuff like this".
Les followed his son, Tyler, to UC Davis as Tyler was recruited out of Peoria Notre Dame High School. Jodi and I knew about it, but we didn't really know about UC Davis.