Washington caught no break with its opening opponent. But, after two seasons on the outside looking in, they seemed fully happy to take what they have been given.
The Huskies got the expected No. 4 seed, but they will open against No. 12 seed Mississippi State (23-12) at approximately 1:45 p.m. Thursday at the Rose Garden in Portland.
"We were hoping we could stay here close to home," coach Lorenzo Romar said. "We got that wish: We're going to Portland. We're going to play against a very good Mississippi State team -- they won their conference tournament in the SEC. We're looking forward to getting a chance to play in the NCAA tournament again. (Seniors Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon) haven't gotten that opportunity for two years; they did as freshmen, and I know that they're just dying to get back. We're looking forward to going out and competing."
The Bulldogs just won the Southeastern Conference tournament title with an overtime win over Tennessee. MSU got to the SEC title game by beating LSU, South Carolina and Georgia.
The winner of that game will go on to play the winner of No. 5 Purdue (25-9) and No. 13 Northern Iowa (23-10) on Saturday in Portland.
All of that is in the West region, so the advancing team goes on to the Sweet 16 at University of Phoenix Stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Glendale, Ariz.
Here's a quick take from the Mississippi State website:
STARKVILLE, Miss. - After claiming the 2009 Southeastern Conference Men's Basketball Tournament crown with a nailbiting 64-61 win over Tennessee Sunday afternoon, Mississippi State's men's basketball team learned soon after its opening-round plans for the 2009 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship.
The SEC Tourney champion Bulldogs (23-12), a No. 13 seed, will be headed to Portland, Oregon, and will meet Pac-10 champion and No. 4 seed Washington (25-8) there in the Rose Garden this Thursday, March 19. Game times for the tournament will be announced later this week.
MSU and UW have met on only one previous occasion in men's basketball, a 1968 matchup in the Gator Bowl Tournament in Jacksonville, Fla. The Huskies took a close 82-80 decision from State in that affair.
State will be making its 11th all-time appearance in the NCAA Championship, holding an 11-9 record in its previous 10 trips to the big dance. MSU's last trip was just last season, downing Oregon in the first round before falling to Memphis in the second in Little Rock, Ark.
The crowd at Don James Center cheered the UW selection, but didn't sound too happy when the opponent was announced.
The crowd also booed a bit when Arizona was named to its 25th straight tournament. And they booed again when Gonzaga got a fourth-seed assigned to Portland meeting Arkon in the South (Memphis) region.
In all, six Pac-10 teams made the tournament: UW, ASU, Arizona, UCLA, USC and Cal. WSU made the NIT. And Oregon State is already announced in the CBI.