Basketball Team Headed Back to State Tournament

For Immediate Release: 
March 8, 2016
The Saddleback College men’s basketball team is headed back to the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) state championship tournament March 12-13 at Las Positas College in Livermore to defend its 2015 state title.
The Gauchos (30-1) have been the top-ranked team in the state for most of the season and lived up to that lofty ranking by beating highly-potent offensive units from MiraCosta, Bakersfield, and East Los Angeles colleges in the regional playoffs to qualify for the state tournament.  It marks the fifth time in the past eight seasons that Saddleback has qualified for the state tournament, winning state titles in 2010 and 2015 with a state runner-up finish in 2009.
Dr. Tod A. Burnett, president of Saddleback College, stated, “Congratulations to the Gauchos men’s basketball team for an excellent season.  I commend all of our players for their tremendous academic performance in addition to their excellent playing.  Thank you to Coach Andy Ground who year after year demonstrates remarkable leadership which no doubt has a great impact on student performance in the classroom and on the basketball court.”
“It has taken a tremendous team effort for our team to have a chance to defend the state title,” said Tony Lipold, Saddleback College Athletic Director.  “These guys are very deserving of this trip to the state tournament.  They have performed exceptionally well this year not only on the basketball court, but also in the classroom with a team GPA above 3.0.”
Saddleback will face Fresno City College (28-6), the No. 3 seeded team from Northern California, on Saturday, March 12, in the featured semifinal game starting at 7:00 p.m.  Saddleback enters the game with the state’s top-ranked defense, allowing just 55.8 points per game.  Fresno City enters the game as the state’s top-ranked offense, scoring 91.9 points per game.  
These two programs have met on the basketball court a dozen times previously, with Fresno City College winning all 12 meetings.  The last meeting came two years ago during a non-conference meeting in Fresno, 64-54.
Saddleback and Fresno City have two of the most successful men’s basketball programs in the state.  The Gauchos have won three state titles, 20 conference titles and accumulated 1,011 wins against just 496 losses.  That is an average record of 21-10 over a 48-year span.  Fresno City has won 10 consecutive Central Valley Conference titles and has won state titles in 2007 and 2011 during that stretch.   
Saddleback enters Saturday’s game carrying a 24-game winning streak while Fresno City has won 23 of its past 24 games.  The game will be broadcast live over the Internet at or at