Mustangs Highlights

General Information

  • Founded: 1941
  • Conference: Big West Conference
  • Past Conferences: American West Conference (AWC)
  • Arena: Mott Athletics Center
  • City: San Luis Obispo, California

Championships and Titles

  • Conference regular season championship
  • Conference tournament championship

Team History

It has been a while since the Cal Poly Mustangs have had success playing in NCAA Division I. In 2014, the Mustangs qualified for their first and only NCAA Tournament appearance. It was one of the more underrated “Cinderella Runs” by a team.

The Mustangs finished the regular season with a 14-20 (6-10 in conference) record. But it found a way to pull off upsets and win the tournament to book their trip for March Madness.

The team was led by the likes of Chris Eversley who led the Mustangs’ team stats. It then won its First Four game against Texas Southern to officially get into the field of 64. Despite getting blown out 64-37 by the 1-seed, Wichita State, the Mustangs had everyone in San Luis Obispo believing in miracles.

Unfortunately, this run proved to be the only positive season for most of the school’s stay in D-I. Joe Callero got this team to overperform in many cases. But beginning with that unlikely NCAA Tournament appearance, the team had nothing but losing seasons. It still persists today under new coach John Smith.

The Mustangs tend to be proper fade material on the NCAAB odds. And since 2013, Cal Poly has had the worst cover rate in the Big West Conference at just over 41 percent (as of 2022-23).

Successful seasons are few and far between for this program. But when it does have one, it is to be remembered. This was the case during the 1995-96 season in Jeff Schneider’s first year with the program.
Cal Poly was coming off a miserable debut in D-I with a 1-26 record (0-6 conference). But Schneider nearly single-handedly turned the team around as it finished 16-13 and 5-1 in the conference to capture the regular season title.

Ben Larson, who is the Cal Poly Mustangs’ team stats leader in assists to this day (2023) was with the team. Had the team succeeded and qualified for the NCAA Tournament, it may have deserved a Disney movie of its own.
Fans and bettors can only hope for another such season for the team. At the moment, the Mustangs can be found at underdog lines in the sportsbook. But whether they are worth betting on or not depends on their current state.

All-Time Cal Poly Mustangs Records

  • Points Scored

Chris Bjorklund: 2,006
Mike Wozniak: 1,903
Varnie Dennis: 1,594

  • Rebounds

Varnie Dennis: 676
Jeremiah Mayes: 674
David Hanson: 628

  • Assists

Ben Larson: 483
Trae Clark: 306
Donovan Fields: 303


Is Cal Poly a Division I school?

Cal Poly has been competing in NCAA Division I men’s basketball since the 1994-95 season. It completed one of the biggest one-season turnarounds by going from a one-win team (1-26) to winning the conference’s regular season title the next year.

Has Cal Poly made it to March Madness?

The Cal Poly Mustangs have qualified for one NCAA Tournament as of the 2022-23 season: back in 2014. The Mustangs won the First Four game but lost to Wichita State as a 16-seed facing the 1-seed.

Do Cal Poly students get to watch men’s basketball games for free?

Per the school’s website, “Cal Poly students are eligible to receive a free ticket to all regular-season home athletic events with a valid Cal Poly ID.”

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