Bulldogs Ready For 10th Straight NCAA Trip
March 17, 2008
NCAA Tournament First Round
Friday, March 21 - 9:25 a.m. PDT
RBC Center - Raleigh, NC
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 7 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (25-7; 13-1 West Coast) G - 2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, Jr., Chicago, IL (11.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks) G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 214, So., Highlands Ranch, CO (12.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals) G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-4, 190, Fr., Bainbridge, WA (7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals) C - 31 Abdullahi Kuso, 6-9, 241, Sr., Kaduna, Nigeria (6.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.5 steals, 1.1 blocks) or 21 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 255, Fr., North Vancouver, B.C. (3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals) F - 25 David Pendergraft, 6-6, 223, Sr., Brewster, WA (8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 236-59 (9th year - 19th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
Davidson College is located in The Town of Davidson, NC, 22 miles north of Charlotte, NC, home of the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA which drafted former Gonzaga University standout Adam Morrison as the third pick in 2006. Davidson, population 9,110, is 163 miles west of Raleigh on Highway 85 which splits Chapel Hill (home of the University of North Carolina) and Durham (home of Duke University) on the way Raleigh. The town was founded in 1837 with the establishment of the Presbyterian Davidson College, named for Brigadier General William Lee Davidson, a local Revolutionary War hero in Mecklenburg County. The land for Davidson College came from Davidson's estate, a large portion of which was donated by his son.
This is the third straight NCAA Tournament for Davidson College and their 10th trip overall. Last season the Wildcats lost to the University of Maryland 82-70 in the first round in Buffalo, NY. Davidson has lost its last seven NCAA Tournament games since advancing to the East Finals in 1969. This year's 10th seed is their highest since seeding began in 1979.
Davidson College is coached by Bob McKillop in his 19th season. He is 337-224 overall. This is his fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament - 1998, 2002, 2006-08 - but he is winless in his four previous trips.
Gonzaga University is 12-10 overall in the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs making their 10th straight appearance and 11th overall trip. The Bulldogs were a No. 10 seed a year ago and fell to No. 7 seed Indiana University in the San Jose Regional first round match-up in Sacramento, Calif. The No. 3 seed Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in 2006, their fourth trip to the Sweet Sixteen since 1999.
The best NCAA Tournament run for Gonzaga University was 1999 when the Bulldogs advanced to the Elite Eight, falling to eventual NCAA champion University of Connecticut. Gonzaga followed that run with Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2000 and 2001 prior to returning to the Sweet Sixteen in 2006. Gonzaga has advanced to at least the second round in 7-of-10 NCAA Tournament trips.
This is the first time Gonzaga University has been a No. 7 seed. The Bulldogs have been on the other half of the 7-10 match-up as a No. 10 seed last season in losing to Indiana University in the first round, in 2000 in their way to the Sweet Sixteen and in 1999 during their improbable march to the Elite Eight.
With a 25-7 record, Gonzaga University has won 20 games for the 11th straight season and for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons. Gonzaga (13-1) has also hit double-digit wins in West Coast Conference play for the 11th straight year and for the 12th time in the last 13 campaigns.
Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few is tied for 13th on the NCAA Most Consecutive Division I 20-Win Seasons list with nine. He's knotted with Rick Barnes, University of Texas, and Stew Morrill, Utah State University who extended their streaks this season. Lute Olson of the University of Arizona heads the list with 20. Few is tied for sixth on the Current Most Consecutive Division I 20-Win Seasons list with Barnes and Morrill at nine. Tubby Smith of the University of Minnesota heads the list with 15. Olson, who was not on the Arizona bench this season, was the leader at 20.
Junior Jeremy Pargo is in the Top 10 on the Gonzaga University career charts for assists and steals. His 416 career assists rank fourth behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). The Gonzaga co-captain is seventh in career steals with 121. Pargo also has 879 career points as he bids to become the 30th Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Gonzaga University is making its 10th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs current streak of 10 straight appearances ranks the Bulldogs tied for sixth for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with the University of Texas and University of Wisconsin.
There's no place like home, and the McCarthey Athletic Center has become quite the home for the Bulldogs since it opened for the 2004-05 season. Gonzaga is 52-2 in the new facility, winning its first 38 games in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Santa Clara University halted the streak with an 84-73 victory Feb. 12, 2007. That loss also snapped a 50-game home winning streak for the Bulldogs, at the time the longest streak in the nation, as Gonzaga left the old Kennel with 12 straight home victories.
There might be some magic in that No. 5 jersey freshman Austin Daye is wearing - especially when it comes to the free throw line. Daye is 89-for-100 for 89.0 percent from the stripe this season. He was ranked 13th nationally at 89.0 percent through games of March 13 when the latest rankings were compiled. Daye went an uncharacteristic 6-for-9 against Saint Mary's College the final weekend of the regular season, only the second time this season he's missed more than two free throws in a game. Derek Raivio, who wore No. 5 throughout his Gonzaga career, is one of the most prolific free throw shooters in NCAA history. He finished his career hitting 92.7 percent from the line and holds the top three single-season percentage marks in school history. Raivio went 148-for-154 for 96.1 percent to lead the NCAA Division I ranks in percentage a year ago and ranks second all-time on the NCAA single-season list. For his career he went 343-for-370 for 92.7 percent to rank second in the NCAA based on a minimum of 300 free throws made and 2.5 free throws made/game. Raivio set the Gonzaga record of 56 consecutive free throws. Daye had 29 straight makes this season.
Think Gonzaga University hasn't played a tough schedule? The combined record of the teams who have handed Gonzaga its seven losses is 172-58 for a winning percentage of 74.8. The University of Memphis (33-1) leads the way as six of the seven teams have won 20 or more games through contests of March 17. In addition, the Bulldogs have also defeated the University of Connecticut, ranked 16th by Associated Press and 17th in the USA Today/ESPN poll last week.
Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few added three players to his charges for the 2008-09 season with the signing of three players to letters-of-intent. Andy Poling, 6-11, 230-pound forward from Westview High in Portland, Ore.; Grant Gibbs, 6-5, 190-pound guard from Linn-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, and Demetri Goodson, 6-0, 175-pound guard from Klein Collins High in Spring, Texas, outside of Houston, made their intentions official to become Bulldogs on the first day of national letter-of-intent signing day. All three had previously made verbal commitments. Poling averaged 13.9 ppg last season to rank fifth in the Metro League in scoring while leading the Wildcats to a 21-8 overall record and 8-2 second-place Metro League finish. He was named honorable mention All-State 6A in Westview's first season in the newly-created State 6A classification. He was also voted first-team All-Metro League for the Wildcats, ranked seventh in the state heading into the State 6A Tournament where they lost their first two games. Poling was rated one of the 20 best centers in the country by one scouring service. Gibbs averaged 15.0 ppg, 5.0 assists and 5.0 rpg as Linn-Mar captured the Iowa State 4A title last spring. He had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the quarterfinal win over Sioux City North; 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 steals in the semifinal victory over Urbandale, and scored 15 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and had a pair of assists and steals in the title game against Bettendorf to cap a 24-1 season. He finished third in tournament scoring with 45 points and tied for fourth with 21 rebounds in earning All-Tournament honors. Goodson helped lead Klein Collins to the Region 2 title game last season while averaging 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 7.0 assists/game. He was an All-State 5A selection, the largest classification in Texas. Goodson was rated as high as the 135th best player in the country by one scouting service.
Gonzaga University finished the final 2008 Associated Press Top 25 poll ranked 24th in the rankings released Monday. Davidson College, the Bulldogs first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, is 23rd. Gonzaga is the first team receiving votes in the USA Today/ESPN balloting after being 22nd the previous week. Gonzaga was ranked as high as 14th in both polls this season.
This is only the second time in Gonzaga University's 11 trips to the NCAA Tournament the Bulldogs have been shipped out of the West for the first and second rounds. The Bulldogs were sent to Memphis, Tenn., in 2001 and placed in the South Regional. No. 12 Gonzaga defeated No. 5 University of Virginia and No. 13 Indiana State University to advance to the South Regional in Atlanta where Michigan State University ended the Zags season in the Sweet Sixteen. Gonzaga's other first/second round sites have been Salt Lake City, Utah (1995, 2003, 2006); Seattle, Wash. (1999, 2004); Tucson, Ariz. (2000, 2005), Albuquerque, NM (2002), and Sacramento, Calif. (2007).
Head coach Mark Few picked up his 225th career victory Jan. 19 against the University of San Diego. With 236 victories, Few is third on the all-time Gonzaga victories chart behind Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) and Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 seasons). Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 113-13, moving ahead of Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Carroll Williams, Santa Clara University (165-137) and Dick Davey, SCU (122-88) hold the top two spots.
Abdullahi Kuso is a perfect 7-for-7 from the field over the last three games and has made eight straight shots since going back to his last shot attempt against Saint Mary's College March 1.
A final look at the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) shows Gonzaga finishing with an RPI of 30 and a strength of schedule of 93. West Coast Conference Tournament champion University of San Diego has an RPI of 94 and a SOS of 100 while Saint Mary's College, which received an at-large bid to give the WCC three teams in the tourney, has an RPI of 36 and a SOS of 138. Davidson College, Gonzaga's first-round opponent in the NCAA Tournament, has an RPI of 35 and a SOS of 129.
Junior Josh Heytvelt recorded his first double-digit scoring night since Feb. 11 with his 15 points in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal victory over Santa Clara University. He went 4-for-5 from the field, 2-for-2 from 3-point range and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. The two treys in a game matched his season high, also hitting two at the University of Memphis.
Friday's game between Gonzaga University and Davidson College will feature two of the top guards in the country. Stephen Curry of Davidson is the national leader in assists/game at 8.0, while the Bulldogs Jeremy Pargo is 19th at 6.0 assists/game. Pargo is also 92nd in assist/turnover ratio at 1.84 while Curry is 69th in steals/game at 1.9. Curry is also ranked in scoring average (5th/25.1), 3-point field goals/game (3rd/4.3), 3-point field goal percentage (23rd/43.8) and free throw percentage (10th/89.8). On the team side, Gonzaga is 10th in scoring margin (+13.3) while Davidson is fourth (+15.8), and Gonzaga is 17th in field goal percentage defense (39.4 percent) while Davidson is 37th in field goal percentage (47.3).
Gonzaga University has never played a game against a member of the Southern Conference, which is comprised of Davidson, Appalachian State, Chattanooga, UNC Greensboro, Elon, Western Carolina, Georgia Southern, Charleston, Wofford, Furman and Citadel.
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