The Seattle University men are aiming for the WAC’s big prize: a berth in the NCAA Tournament

Three wins in three days.

That’s what the Seattle University men’s basketball team will need to earn its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1969.

The Redhawks (20-11, 11-7) earned one of four first-round exits in the first round of the Western Athletic Conference Tournament as the No. 4 seed in the conference.

They open play in the Las Vegas tournament in the quarterfinals against Grand Canyon, which beat Texas Arlington 82-77 on Tuesday — at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Redhawks have defeated Lopez in both previous meetings this season.

Seattle University needed to win the regular season finale to earn the fourth seed, and it did so with an 80-56 victory over Arlington, Texas. It happened on Friday Senior Night with Riley Grigsby and honoring Emeka Udeni made it even more special.

“We wanted to have a good night for Mack and Riley, we wanted to get that number four seed, and getting 20 wins was a big deal for the program, so it was a lot of positives,” Seattle U coach Chris Victor said.

The win was also instrumental in erasing any bad thoughts from Seattle U’s previous game, a 93-56 loss to Utah Tech, which finished 12th in the WAC during the regular season.

After a 7-0 start to the WAC tournament, the Redhawks have been inconsistent. For example, they won on the road at WAC regular season champion Utah Valley, but fell by 15 points at home to seventh-ranked Abilene Christian.

“If we prepare the right way and have the right mentality going into the game, we can beat anyone in the conference,” Victor said. “Then we also proved that if we’re not prepared and ready to play, we can lose by 20 to any team in the conference. So we focused a little bit more on ourselves.”

Victor said he is confident that “lessons have been learned” from the team’s losses and that the Redhawks will be ready to play their best.

“Coming into the game, we know we can control our effort, we can control our communication, and we can control, for the most part, our defense and our rebounding,” Victor said. “That’s something we want to make sure we take care of.

“But at some point, somebody’s going to have to take some shots. You can win one ugly game. But you don’t win three games in a row against these teams that we’re going to play without a couple of guys playing well on offense and making some shots for us.”

Reaching the NCAA Tournament has been a goal since the Redhawks began their return to Division I 15 years ago. Viktor believes that he has a team capable of achieving this elusive goal.

“We play well against the best teams in this conference and we’ve shown we can beat anybody in this conference,” Victor said. “So if we get to the point where we play well three games in a row, we can beat anybody in this tournament.”

The Seattle U women advanced to the quarterfinals

The Seattle University women picked up their biggest win of the season on Monday with an 80-78 win over Arlington, Texas in the first round of the WAC tournament.

The Redhawks (6-23), who have lost their first 11 games of the season, are the No. 11 seed. Texas Arlington (14-17) was the No. 6 seed and beat Seattle U 75-49 three weeks ago.

Seattle U will play No. 3 seed Grand Canyon (20-9) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday in Las Vegas at 8 p.m.

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