Zags, Bearcats Prep For Opening Round Game

March 19, 2003


2003 NCAA First Day Quotes
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Gonzaga University and the University of Cincinnati completed their final preparations prior to the two schools meeting in the NCAA First Round on Thursday morning. Both teams met with the media and had an hour shoot-around which was open to the public. Gonzaga is seeded ninth in the West Region and will face the Bearcats tomorrow at 9:40 (PST) to kick off games at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. The winner of the game will face the winner of Thursday game between No. 1 seeded University of Arizona and No. 16 seed University of Vermont.

The Catamounts have been the story of the early tournament as they are the only team not yet on site after being snowed into the airport in Denver on Tuesday night. Gonzaga and the other six teams arrived on Tuesday, the Zags taking in the Utah Jazz/Denver Nuggets NBA game last night.

Junior guard Blake Stepp was happy the team received an at-large bid saying "It feels great to know that we are getting a lot more respect. A lot of guys in the past have done so well in getting into the tournament and the Sweet 16, it's kind of gotten our name out there and we've been able to get some respect from the selection committee, which seeded us 9th. I didn't expect to be seeded that high."

This will be the second meeting between the schools after meeting it the Rock-n-Roll Shootout in 1999 when the Bearcats were ranked No. 1 in the nation and led by Player of the Year Kenyon Martin.

This time around it will be a different match-up as each school brings in a different style of play. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few stated, "I think this year's team can play a variety of different ways. In some instances, we might be better in a kind of blast it and brawl and wrestle type of scenario. When you get into a game with Cincinnati, you've got to be prepared to battle on each and every possession."

The other games in the Salt Lake City section involve Duke vs. Colorado State and Creighton vs. Central Michigan.



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