Gonzaga Off To The Dance Again
March 12, 2002
Game 33 - Wyoming Cowboys
Thursday, March 14 - 4:40 p.m. PST - NCAA West First Round
The Pit - Albuquerque, NM
Radio: News Talk AM 1510 KGA - Pre-game show at 4:25 p.m. PST
No. 6 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (29-3, 13-1 West Coast Conference)
UNIVERSITY OF WYOMING COWBOYS (21-8, 11-3 Mountain West Conference)
G - 3 Jason Straight, 5-11, 65, Fr., Chicago, IL
BACK AT THE PIT: Gonzaga University returns to The Pit for the second time this season and for the third time since the 1999-00 season when the No. 6 seeded Bulldogs face No. 11 University of Wyoming Thursday in a NCAA Tournament First Round game. The Bulldogs and Cowboys will tip off at 5:40 p.m. MST (4:40 p.m. PST) as the first game of the second session. The Bulldogs-Cowboys game will be followed by No. 3 University of Arizona against No. 14 UC Santa Barbara. The morning session at 10:40 a.m. has No. 5 University of Miami meeting No. 12 University of Missouri, followed by No. 4 Ohio State University meeting No. 13 Davidson University.
BULLDOGS 1-1 IN THE PIT: Gonzaga University will be making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in The Pit, the 2000 version of the Bulldogs dropping a 75-66 decision to Purdue University in the Sweet Sixteen. Gonzaga met the host University of New Mexico earlier this season in The Pit, the outcome a lot more favorable for the Bulldogs in a 95-90 overtime victory over the Lobos.
GONZAGA SEEDS: This year's sixth seed is the highest the Bulldogs have been seeded in their recent NCAA Tournament history. The 1995 Bulldogs were No. 14, the Elite Eight squad of 1999 and the 2000 Sweet Sixteen teams were each seeded No. 10, and last year's Sweet Sixteen club was seeded 12th.
HOW THEY GOT HERE: Gonzaga University captured the regular-season title in the West Coast Conference with a 13-1 record, while the University of Wyoming claimed the Mountain West Conference crown with an 11-3 mark. Gonzaga won the WCC Tournament for an automatic NCAA Tournament berth, while the Cowboys fell to eventual champion San Diego State University in the semifinals of the MWC tourney and earned an at-large bid.
BULLDOGS 6TH IN BOTH POLLS: Gonzaga University remained sixth in both the Associated Press and the USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25. The Bulldogs stayed sixth for the second straight week, the highest ranking ever for GU. It's the 14th straight week for GU in the AP rankings since cracking the list Dec. 12 at No. 25, the longest consecutive run by the Bulldogs in school history. Gonzaga had a 7-week appearance from Nov. 8-Dec. 12, 1999. This was the final AP poll of the season. Gonzaga is in the USA TODAY/ESPN poll for the 12th straight week, entering the poll 24th on Dec. 16. This is the highest ranking since the University of San Francisco was ranked sixth on Dec. 29, 1981. The Dons were in the Top 10 for six weeks during the 1981-82 season.
LAST FOUR YEARS: Gonzaga University trails only Duke University, Michigan State University and the University of Cincinnati in wins over the last four seasons. The Bulldogs have won 109 games, while Duke leads the list with 128.
BULLDOGS VS. THE FIELD: Six teams in the NCAA Tournament field dotted the Gonzaga University schedule this season, the Bulldogs going 5-3. The only home game in the mix was an 83-63 win over the University of Montana. Gonzaga played at the University of Illinois and Pepperdine University, while facing St. John's University, Marquette University and the University of Texas in the Great Alaska Shootout, the Bulldogs losing the title game to Marquette after wins over the other two squads.
TOUGH REGION: Gonzaga University is in arguably the toughest region in this year's NCAA Tournament. There are six conference tournament champions among the top seven seeds - No. 1 University of Cincinnati (Conference USA), No. 2 University of Oklahoma (Big Eight), No. 3 University of Arizona (Pacific-10), No. 4 Ohio State University (Big Ten), No. 6 Gonzaga (West Coast) and No. 7 Xavier University (Atlantic 10). Plus, five other teams won conference tournaments - Boston University (America East), Davidson University (Southern), UC Santa Barbara (Big West), University of Hawai'i (Western Athletic) and University of Illinois-Chicago (Horizon).
COMMON FOES: There were three commons foes between Gonzaga University and the University of Wyoming this season. Both schools met the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Portland State University and the University of New Mexico. Gonzaga topped UAPB 92-42, UW downing the Golden Lions 94-74. The Bulldogs belted PSU 93-58 while the Cowboys roped the Vikings 104-58. Gonzaga stopped UNM 95-90 in overtime on the Lobos' home floor, while UW defeated UNM 79-67 at Arena-Auditorium on the UW campus, then dropped the re-match 74-65 at The Pit.
BULLDOGS AND COWBOYS: Gonzaga University and the University of Wyoming will be meeting for the fourth time. The last meeting came in the first round of the 1998 National Invitation Tournament, the Bulldogs posting a 69-55 victory. The Bulldogs won the first meeting in the 1960 Idaho State Invitational in Pocatello, Idaho, 52-43. The Cowboys prevailed 80-67 in the first round of the 1989 Cowboy Shootout hosted by Wyoming on a neutral floor in Casper.
POUNDING THE BOARDS: Gonzaga University continues to lead the NCAA Division I rankings for rebound margin, entering the NCAA Tournament with a +9.3 for a slim lead over Stanford University (+9.0). The University of Wyoming, Gonzaga's opening-round opponent Thursday at The Pit in Albuquerque, NM, is fifth with a +8.4 margin. The Bulldogs had a +7.3 margin in winning the West Coast Conference Tournament. Gonzaga has held the edge against 10 of the last 11 opponents, Santa Clara University (32-25) the last team to win the war on the boards against the Bulldogs, just the seventh time in 32 games the Bulldogs have been out rebounded - 30-29 at home against Saint Mary's College, 47-33 at Pepperdine University (the only time Gonzaga has been out rebounded by double digits), 41-33 at home against Santa Clara University, 31-26 against Marquette University in the title game of the Great Alaska Shootout, 39-36 at home against Washington State University and 35-31 at Saint Joseph's University the others. Gonzaga has held the edge in 25 of 32 outings and has grabbed 50 or more rebounds four times this season - 53 at home against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 50 at the University of Washington, 51 at home against Eastern Oregon University and 53 against Monmouth University. Cory Violette's career-high 20 rebounds against Fresno State University is tied for the 12th highest single-game total this season in NCAA Division I ranks.
THE 1,000 POINT PLATEAU: Senior guard Dan Dickau (1,099) reached the 1,000-point plateau and junior forward Zach Gourde (979) is closing in on it in their Gonzaga University careers. Dickau has become the 23rd Bulldog to score 1,000 points and he currently ranks 17th on the all-time Bulldog scoring list. Counting his two seasons at the University of Washington, Dickau has 1,264 career points.
ELITE COMPANY: Gonzaga University is one of just three schools to advance to the Sweet Sixteen each of the past three seasons. Michigan State University and Duke University are the other two. Duke and MSU appeared in their fourth straight Sweet Sixteen in 2001. Since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have been 18 occasions where teams have had runs of three years or more into the Sweet Sixteen. The University of North Carolina leads the way with a 9-year stretch from 1985-93, followed by Duke with a 7-year run from 1986-92.
BULLDOGS AND THE KENNEL: The Kennel, home of Gonzaga University's Bulldogs, has gained the reputation as one of the toughest courts in the country. In the last 10 seasons the Bulldogs are 128-9 at home for a nifty 93.4 winning percentage after capping a 13-0 home season this year and winning by an average of 24.6 ppg. The Bulldogs went 12-0 at home in 2001, winning by an average of 24.7 ppg. GU is 45-1 in The Kennel over the past four seasons. The 2000 squad was 10-1, and the 1999 Bulldogs completed a 10-0 season in The Kennel, winning by an average of 31.9 ppg. The Bulldogs also posted undefeated home campaigns in 1993 (13-0) and 1994 (14-0), and suffered just one home setback in 1996 and 1998. The Bulldogs put together a 34-game home-court-winning streak from 1992-95, which at the time was the country's second-longest active streak. Gonzaga takes a 26-game home winning streak into next season, the current streak ranking third. Brigham Young University holds the top spot with 35 victories.
BEST SEASON EVER: With a 29-3 record this season, Gonzaga University is off to its best start since joining the NCAA Division I ranks for the 1958-59 season. The 1966-67 campaign saw the Bulldogs start 14-2 prior to dropping three straight and ending the season 19-6. The 1998-99 squad and last year's team were 26-6 after 32 games.
WININING STREAK RECORD MATCHED: Gonzaga University brings a school-record equaling 14-game winning streak into Thursday's NCAA Tournament opener against the University of Wyoming. The Bulldogs have won 26 of their last 27 outings, the only setback an 88-79 verdict at Pepperdine University in West Coast Conference play. Last year's club won 14 games midway through the season and won 20 of its last 22 contests with losses to Santa Clara University to end the winning streak and to Michigan State University in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
FEW'S THREE-YEAR RUN: Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few probably never thought life as a head coach would be so "sweet." In his first three seasons, he has won more games than any other third-year head coach in the history of NCAA Division I. His 81 wins entering the NCAA Tournament moved him past Bill Guthridge of the University of North Carolina (1998-00) and Everett Case of North Carolina State University (1947-49) who each won 80 games in their first three seasons as a NCAA Division I head coach. In his first two seasons as head coach the Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen, one of only two NCAA Division I head coaches to accomplish that feat since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Gonzaga, defending national champion Duke University and 2000 national champion Michigan State University are the only three schools to reach the Sweet Sixteen each of the past three seasons. Few was an assistant coach on Gonzaga's run to the 1999 Elite Eight. Few's 2-year record of 52-16 places him among elite company for second-year head coaches. His 2-year total of 52 wins has him tied for third for second-year coaches with Dan Monson, his predecessor at Gonzaga, and Ben Carnevale of the University of North Carolina (1945-46).
FEW NAISMITH FINALIST: Third-year Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few is one of 20 finalists for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year as selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The award will be presented April 5 in Atlanta. For a complete list of finalists visit the Gonzaga web site at http://www.gozags.com.
BULLDOGS HIT 20 WINS AGAIN: Gonzaga University (29-3) has hit the 20-win plateau this season the quickest in school history. The Bulldogs have now won 20 or more games in each of the past five seasons and in eight of the last nine campaigns. The Bulldogs went 26-7 last season, matching the 2000 win total and third behind this season and the 1999 school record mark of 28-7. This season is the sixth time the Bulldogs have hit the magic 20-win plateau in the regular season. The 1994 squad took a 20-6 record into the West Coast Conference Tournament, the 1998 team was 21-8 entering the tourney, the 1999 Bulldogs went 22-6 in the regular season, the 2000 squad was 21-8 heading into the WCC Tournament and last year's team was 21-6 entering the WCC fray. Gonzaga's first 20-win season as a NCAA Division I program came in 1992 with a 20-10 mark, falling to Pepperdine University 73-70 in the Bulldogs' first appearance in the WCC Tournament title game.
O-FER FROM THREE: The last time Gonzaga University took the collar from 3-point range was in an 0-for-5 night in The Kennel against the University of Portland on Jan. 27, 1993, a 71-53 Gonzaga victory. Gonzaga has made a 3-point field goal in 297 straight games. Gonzaga made a school record 291 treys in 1999.
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