Bulldogs Ready To Dance In Salt Lake City
March 18, 2003
Game No. 32 - Cincinnati
Thursday, March 20 - 9:40 a.m. PST
Jon M. Huntsman Center - Salt Lake City, Utah
NCAA West Regional First/Second Round
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane);
KALE 960 (Tri-Cities)
Pre-game show at 9:10 a.m.
No. 9 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (23-8; 12-2 West Coast Conference)
No. 8 UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI BEARCATS (17-11; 9-7 Conference USA)
BULLDOGS GO DANCIN: For the fifth straight year, Gonzaga University is in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. But this time the agonizing wait for an at-large berth ended Sunday when 9th-seed Gonzaga was pitted against 8th-seeded University of Cincinnati in Salt Lake City. This is the second time the Bulldogs will have appeared in the NCAA Tournament at the Jon M. Hunstman Center on the University of Utah campus, the Bulldogs inaugural NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995 on the same court.
FAMOUS ALUMS: Gonzaga University and the University of Cincinnati can both lay claim to some pretty fair athletic alumni. The Bulldogs have Utah Jazz all-star John Stockton, the NBA's career leader in assists and steals, while the Bearcats have former Los Angeles Dodgers great Sandy Koufax. The jukebox also features a couple of crooners probably more familiar to the older generation - the Bulldogs' Bing Crosby and the Bearcats Tennessee Ernie Ford.
GOURDE MAKES BULLDOG HISTORY: Gonzaga University senior forward Zach Gourde will make school history when he steps on the court Thursday. He will become the first Bulldog to play in four NCAA Tournaments. He was also around for the start of the current 5-year run, redshirting during Gonzaga's 1999 run to the Elite Eight. He has played in seven NCAA Tournament games in his career to tie for third on the Gonzaga charts.
NCAA EXPERIENCE: Gonzaga University brings some quality experience to the NCAA Tournament. Five players have combined to play in a total of 20 NCAA Tournament games. Senior Zach Gourde heads the list with 7 games, followed by juniors Blake Stepp, Cory Violette and Kyle Bankhead with 4 each and Ronny Turiaf with one game. Senior guard Winston Brooks missed last year's NCAA Tournament with a broken wrist, receiving clearance to play the week of the tourney but not seeing any action against the University of Wyoming.
CURRENT NBA PRODUCTS: Gonzaga University has a pair of players in the NBA. Veteran point guard John Stockton of the Utah Jazz, the NBA's all-time leader in assists and steals, is in his 19th season with the Jazz after being the 16th player taken in the 1984 NBA draft. Rookie point guard Dan Dickau is with the Atlanta Hawks after being the final selection of the first round in last June's draft. Dickau was taken by the Sacramento Kings and then traded to the Hawks. The Jazz are home in the Delta Center Tuesday night against Denver and Saturday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Stockton was unable to attend Gonzaga's last NCAA appearance in Salt Lake City in 1995 because the Jazz were out of town.
BRAINS AND BRAWN: Junior guard Blake Stepp has been named to the Verizon/College Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-America third team. He carries a 3.21 GPA in business administration. He was earlier named to the District VIII first team. Stepp and Kyle Bankhead, with a 3.22 GPA in sports management, were also named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic men's basketball team.
THREE OR BUST: Gonzaga University ran its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 329. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, when the Bulldogs went 0-for-5 at home against Portland.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Gonzaga University played eight NCAA Tournament bound teams this season, including No. 1 Midwest seed University of Kentucky. The Bulldogs also battled the University of Utah, Indiana University, the University of Tulsa, Stanford University, the University of San Diego, Saint Joseph's University and North Carolina State University. The Bulldogs were 5-5 against the NCAA teams, defeating San Diego twice, Utah, Tulsa and N.C. State.
GOURDE HITS MILESTONE: Senior forward Zach Gourde recorded the 500th rebound of his career against Loyola Marymount University. He became the seventh member of the 1,000-point, 500-rebound club at Gonzaga. Casey Calvary (1,509/757 from 1998-01) and Jeff Brown (1,646/515 from 1992-94) are the most recent additions. Four players in Gonzaga history have scored 1,000 points and grabbed 700 rebounds. Gourde is also ninth in field goals made with 459 as he chases Doug Spradley in eighth with 462. He also moved ahead of Mark Spink and into third in career-blocked shots with 84. Tim Ruff is second with 99 and Casey Calvary tops the list with 207.
POUNDING THE BOARDS: Gonzaga University led the NCAA Division I ranks in rebounding margin last season with a +8.9 margin to edge Louisiana Tech University (+8.8) by the slimmest of margins. Cory Violette paced the Bulldogs with his 8.3 rpg, including a 20-rebound night against Fresno State University that ranked tied for 13th nationally. GU is +6.2 thus far this season.
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, the Bulldogs losing a 29-game home winning streak Dec. 31, 2002, that ranked third longest in the country. In the last 10 seasons the Bulldogs are 138-11 at home for a nifty 92.6 winning percentage. Gonzaga went 10-2 at home this season, the first time the Bulldogs lost two home games in a season since 1997. Gonzaga was 13-0 at home in 2002, 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 55-3 in The Kennel over the past five 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.
FEW'S THREE-YEAR RUN: Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few's 81-20 record makes him the winningest third-year coach in NCAA history, surpassing 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 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.
20 OR BUST: Gonzaga University is tied for 10th in consecutive 20-win seasons with six. The University of Arizona leads the way with 16. The University of Maryland is "on the bubble" with 19, needing one post-season win to run its streak to seven.
SINGLE DIGITS: Only Gonzaga University, the University of Florida and Duke University have lost less than 10 games in each of the past five seasons, including the current campaign. Gonzaga has posted marks of 29-4, 26-7, 26-9 28-7 and 23-8, respectively, in that stretch. The last time Gonzaga hit double-digits in the "L" column was 1998 with a 20-10 campaign. Current head coach Mark Few has never had 10 or more losses in his four years as a head coach. Duke is currently 23-6 and Florida 24-7 heading into the NCAA Tournament.
TURIAF FROM THE LINE: Sophomore Ronny Turiaf's 194 free throws made rank third on the Gonzaga University single-season list, and his 283 makes are 9th on the all-time GU list.
VIOLETTE REACHES 600: Junior forward Cory Violette became the 10th player in Gonzaga University history to grab 600 rebounds when he pulled down 11 in the regular-season finale at the University of San Diego. He has 614 career boards.
BULLDOGS SIGN A PAIR: Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few signed Adam Morrison, a 6-8, 205-pound forward from Spokane's Mead High, and Derek Raivio, a 6-1, 155-pound point guard from Mountain View High in Vancouver, Wash., in November. Morrison averaged 24.4 ppg as a junior last season to lead the Greater Spokane League, while Raivio averaged 22.6 ppg as the Greater St. Helen's League 4A Player of the Year.
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