No. 8 Zags Look For Upset Against No. 1 Syracuse

March 20, 2010

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Press Conference

Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 34 - University of Syracuse
NCAA Tournament Second Round
Sunday, March 21 - 9:10 a.m. PDT
HSBC Arena (19,200) - Buffalo, NY
Radio: Sports Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); 101.1 KEYF-FM (Spokane)
Network pre-game show 60 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: CBS (check local listing)
No. 8 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (27-6; 12-2 West Coast)
G -   3 Demetri Goodson, 5-11, 164, So., Spring, TX
       (6.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Sr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (15.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.0 assists, 1.4 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-5, 208, Jr., Bainbridge, WA
       (13.7 pg, 4.2 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks)
C - 00 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 247, So., North Vancouver, B.C.
       (10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.9 blocks)
F -  20 Elias Harris, 6-8, 215, Fr., Speyer, Germany
       (14.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  291-72 (11th year - 21st at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

No. 1 Seed SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY ORANGE (29-4; 15-3 Big East) G - 1 Andy Rautins, 6-4, 195, Sr., Jamesville, NY (11.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals) G - 25 Brandon Triche, 6-4, 198, Fr., Jamesville, NY (8.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.9 assists, 0.9 steals) C - 00 Rick Jackson, 6-9, 240, Jr., Philadelphia, PA (10.1 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 2.1 blocks) F - 4 Wes Johnson, 6-7, 205, Jr., Corsicana, TX (16.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 2.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.9 blocks) F - 32 Kris Joseph, 6-7, 207, So., Montreal, Quebec (11.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.4 blocks) HEAD COACH: Jim Boeheim (Syracuse, 1966) SU RECORD: 828-292 (34th year) CAREER RECORD: Same. GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

The West Coast Conference, of which Gonzaga University became a member in 1979-80, is actually older than the Big East Conference. The WCC began in 1952 as strictly a basketball conference of five Bay Area institutions, and the first basketball game was played Jan. 2, 1953. The conference expanded in 1955, and the following year became known as the West Coast Athletic Conference. The name was shortened in 1989. The current alignment has been unchanged since 1989. The Big East became a reality on May 31, 1979, following a meeting of athletic directors from Providence College, St. John's, Georgetown and Syracuse universities. Seton Hall, Connecticut and Boston College completed the original seven school alliance. The league's most recent expansion came in 2005-06 and has been in its current alignment since.

Gonzaga University has had great success in the NCAA Tournament against teams in the current make-up of the Big East Conference. One of the most memorable games in NCAA Tournament history was against the Bulldogs and the University of Connecticut in the 1999 NCAA Elite Eight, the season that started Gonzaga's rise on the national basketball scene. The Huskies prevailed 67-62 and went on to win the national championship but not before the Zags threw a scare into UConn. The Bulldogs downed the University of Louisville in the 2002 NCAA First Round and followed that with a win over St. John's University in the Second Round. The Bulldogs downed Cincinnati in the 2003 First Round. Louisville and Cincinnati were members of Conference USA when they played the Bulldogs, not joining the Big East until the 2005-06 season.

This year is the first time Gonzaga University has been a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but Friday wasn't the Bulldogs first appearance in the 8 vs. 9 game in the tourney. In 2003 the Bulldogs were the No. 9 seed in Salt Lake City and downed No. 8 University of Cincinnati 74-69, setting up a match with No. 1 seed University of Arizona. The favored Wildcats won the contest but not before the Bulldogs took them to double overtime before UA prevailed 96-95 in a game still considered one of the best in the NCAA Tournament.

This is the eighth time in the last nine years Gonzaga University has been a single-digit seed, the Bulldogs being a No. 10 seed in 2007 to interrupt the streak. The Bulldogs were a No. 4 seed a year ago, advancing to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen where the Bulldogs ran into the University of North Carolina, falling 98-77. The Tar Heels went on to capture their fifth NCAA title.

Four teams that dotted Gonzaga University's schedule this season have advanced to the NCAA Tournament and all posted first-round wins. Those teams have a combined record of 96-31 for a winning percentage of .756. Gonzaga defeated NCAA Tournament participants University of Wisconsin and Saint Mary's College. The Bulldogs topped the Badgers in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational on their way to the title. The Bulldogs won 2-of-3 meetings against West Coast Conference rival Saint Mary's, winning the two regular-season matchups and then falling to the Gaels in the WCC Tournament championship game. Gonzaga lost at Michigan State University 75-71 early in the season and Wake Forest University handed the Bulldogs their only home loss of the season - and just their fourth in six years in the McCarthey Athletic Center - 77-75.

Gonzaga University is 15-12 overall in the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs making their 12th straight appearance and 13th overall trip. The Bulldogs were a No. 4 seed a year ago and downed No. 13 University of Akron 77-64 and No. 12 Western Kentucky University 83-81 in the first and second rounds in Portland, Ore., prior to losing to top-seeded University of North Carolina 98077 in the Sweet Sixteen in Memphis, Tenn. Last year was Gonzaga's fifth trip to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Gonzaga has advanced to at least the second round in 9-of-13 NCAA Tournament trips.

Gonzaga University has run its consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances streak to 12, one of the top marks in the country. The University of Arizona had its 25-year streak snapped when the Wildcats failed to make this year's field. The moved overall No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed University of Kansas into the top spot, the Jayhawks attending their 21st straight dance. Duke University is now second with 15 straight and Michigan State University is third with 13 in a row. Gonzaga is joined in a tie for fourth by the University of Texas and the University of Wisconsin with 12, streaks that started with the 1999 NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga played three schools on that list during the regular season. The Bulldogs lost to Duke at Madison Square Garden, fell at Michigan State University and defeated Wisconsin in the semifinals of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

Gonzaga University has been to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen five times and head coach Mark Few has been a part of all of them, including his fourth last season as a head coach. The Bulldogs defeated the University of Florida 73-72 in 1999 in their first trip to the Sweet Sixteen when Few was an assistant on Dan Monson's staff. Gonzaga lost to Purdue University 75-66 in 2000, lost to Michigan State University 77-62 in 2001, fell to UCLA 73-71 in 2006 and lost to the University of North Carolina last season 98-77. UNC is the only Sweet Sixteen of the Bulldogs to go on to claim the NCAA national title.

Gonzaga University will be meeting a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament fifth time. The Bulldogs lost to top seeded University of North Carolina 98-77 in last year's South Region Sweet Sixteen in Memphis, Tenn.; lost to No. 1 West Region seed University of Connecticut 67-62 in 1999 in Phoenix, Ariz., in the regional finals; fell to No. 1 South Region seed Michigan State University 77-62 in 2001 in Memphis in the Sweet Sixteen, and lost to No. 1 West Region seed University of Arizona 96-95 in double overtime in 2003 in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the second round.

Five members of this year's Gonzaga University squad have played in the NCAA Tournament. Matt Bouldin leads the way with six tournament games, all starts, under his belt. He's averaging 12.0 ppg and 5.8 rpg in NCAA play. Steven Gray has played in five games with two starts. He's best remembered for his 21 points against Davidson University and sharpshooter Stephen Curry in the 2008 NCAA First Round, Gray going 7-for-12 from 3-point range. Goodson, a starter this season, played in three games off the bench last season, and became a NCAA darling with his length-of-the-court drive and floater from the left side with 0.9 seconds to play for a 73-71 second-round win over Western Kentucky University. Robert Sacre started his lone career appearance in 2008 against Davidson and was in Friday's starting lineup. Sacre redshirted last season after suffering an early-season foot injury. Will Foster has appeared in two games, last season against the University of North Carolina and Friday against Florida State University.

Current Los Angeles Laker Adam Morrison is Gonzaga University's all-time NCAA Tournament scoring leader with 149 points. Ronny Turiaf, who left the Lakers following the 2008 season and signed with the Golden State Warriors, is fifth with 96. Casey Calvary (136), Richie Frahm (120) and Matt Santangelo (100) join Morrison as the other GU 100-point scorers. Matt Bouldin is the active Gonzaga scoring leader with 72 points as he moved into 10th on the all-time charts with Friday's 17-point performance against Florida State University.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few and Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim are both active in their local Coaches vs. Cancer endeavors. Mark and his wife Marcy started the BasketBALL and Gala in 2002 in Spokane and have raised nearly $4 in the fight against cancer. The event features two days of golf and the black tie gala and auction, the latter drawing 700 people annually to Spokane's Davenport Hotel. Boeheim and his wife Juli will put on their 11th Basket Ball Gala this April, have raised $5 million in the past 10 years and have established the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation. Boeheim will also hold the third annual Jim Boeheim Golf Classic this July.

Gonzaga University wrapped up its 10th straight West Coast Conference regular-season title and the Bulldogs 14th since 1994. The Bulldogs won their inaugural title in 1994, tied for the crown in 1996 and took back-to-back titles for the first time in 1998-99. Mark Few saw his Bulldogs go 11-3 and finish second in his first season at the helm in 2000, but since then it's been all Bulldogs. The Zags have captured the title outright in nine of those 10 years, knotting Pepperdine University at 13-1 in 2002, Few's third year as head coach.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few became the winningest men's basketball coach in Bulldog history with Friday's win over Florida State University. He was tied with Hank Anderson entering Friday's NCAA tilt with 290 victories. Few tied Anderson in the Bulldogs semifinal victory over Loyola Marymount University in the West Coast Conference Tournament. Anderson coached the Zags for 21 years from 1952-72 and posted a 290-275 record. Few brings a record of 291-72 into Sunday's NCAA Second Round this year's NCAA Tournament for a winning percentage of .802 which ranks him first ahead of the University of North Carolina's Roy Williams as the winningest active coach in NCAA Division I. Few is the only active coach with a winning percentage of 80.0 or better based on a minimum of five years as head coach.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few surpassed Hank Anderson on the school's all-time winningest coaches list with the Bulldogs victory March 19, 2010, over Florida State University in the NCAA First Round in Buffalo, NY. Few, in his 11th season, is now 291-72. Anderson went 290-275 in 21 seasons from 1952-72. Few picked up his 275th win Jan. 2, 2010, against the University of Illinois at the United Center in Chicago. Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 139-15, moving ahead of Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Few also moved ahead of Dick Davey of Santa Clara University (122-88) for second with Gonzaga's victory at the University of San Francisco Feb. 14, 2009. Carroll Williams, SCU (165-137) holds the top spot.

Gonzaga University (27-6) has hit the 20-win plateau for the 13th straight season and for the 16th time in the last 17 years. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has never not won 20 games in his 11 years on the Bulldog bench, including a 29-win season in 2002 to set a single-season mark for wins which was matched by the 2006 squad.

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 75-4 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. Gonzaga suffered its first loss at home this season Dec. 5 when Wake Forest University escaped with a 77-75 decision. Gonzaga's other losses were during the 2008 season to Washington State University and last year to Portland State University.

Canadians dot the 2010 Gonzaga University roster - four of them to be exact. Three of them come to the Bulldogs from the province of British Columbia to the north of Spokane. Redshirt sophomore center Robert Sacre is from North Vancouver, B.C., freshman forward Kelly Olynyk hails from Kamloops, B.C., and redshirt sophomore forward Bol Kong is from Vancouver, B.C. Mangisto "Manny" Arop is from Edmonton, Alberta, but spent the past few years in Hamilton, Ontario, while playing with NEDA, Basketball Canada's National Elite Development Academy.

Don't forget the Texans as sophomore guard Demetri Goodson and freshman guard G.J. Vilarino hail from the Lone Star State. But in a state where everything is big, these two Gonzaga University Bulldogs might prove that good things do come in small packages. Goodson, from Spring, Texas, outside of Houston, stretches the tape measure to 5-11. Vilarino, from McKinney, Texas, located almost due north of Dallas, stands 6-0.

The West Coast Conference coaches were fairly accurate on their pre-season poll. They correctly picked Gonzaga (1), San Francisco (4) and San Diego (6). They had Portland (2) and Saint Mary's (3), flip-flopped. They picked San Francisco fourth, the Dons tying for that spot, and picked San Diego sixth, the Toreros in a three-way tie for that position.

Gonzaga University wrapped up its 10th straight West Coast Conference regular-season title, the longest current active streak in the nation and ranks tied for second all-time in the NCAA Division I ranks. The Bulldogs knotted UNLV (Big West, 1983-92) and UConn (Yankee, 1951-60) for second behind UCLA's 13 Pacific-10 Conference titles from 1967-79.

The loss to Saint Mary's College in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship game dropped the Bulldogs in both polls. Gonzaga finishes 22nd in the final Associated Press Top 25, the sportswriters not conducting a final poll following the Final Four. The Bulldogs had been 18th heading into the WCC Tournament title game. It's the fifth time since 2002 the Bulldogs have finished in the AP Top 25. The Zags also fell four spots in the ESPN/USA Today poll, the last regular-season voting by the coaches who will do a final four after a national champion is crowned in Indianapolis. The University of Kansas maintained its No. 1 ranking for the second straight week. Duke University, which defeated Gonzaga in December at Madison Square Garden, moved up one spot in both polls to third. Michigan State University, a 75-71 winner over Gonzaga in East Lansing in the second game of the season, fell two spots to 13th in the AP poll and one spot to 12th in the vote of coaches. The University of Wisconsin, which lost to Gonzaga in the EA Sports Maui Invitational semifinals, dropped three spots to 16th in AP and one spot to 19th in the ESPN/USA Today. The Bulldogs have been in the ranked in at least one poll for 15 straight weeks.

Gonzaga University has extended its string of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 559. The last time the Bulldogs didn't connect from three was Jan. 27, 1993, when they went 0-for-5 at the University of Portland. UNLV holds the all-time record with 738 that started Nov. 26, 1986, through the start of the current season.

Sophomore Robert Sacre, who played just five games last season before being sidelined with a foot injury, has been on a blocked shot tear lately, swatting away 34 shots in his last 11 games. He had a career-high 6 blocks at Pepperdine University and four on three other occasions in the current streak, including the regular-season finale against Cal State Bakersfield. He has moved ahead of Ronny Turiaf into second on the single-season list with 63 blocks, Turiaf with 59 in 2005. Sacre has 71 career blocks, leaving him one shy of moving into the career Top 10. Austin Daye, drafted 15th in the first round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons last season as a junior, is the single-season leader with 70 while Casey Calvary is the career leader with 207.

With a season-ending home sweep to put the finishing touches on a 7-0 home season in West Coast Conference play, Gonzaga University will take a 22-game WCC home winning streak into 2011. The Bulldogs have gone undefeated at home three straight WCC seasons and won their final home game of 2007 after losing to Santa Clara University 84-73. The Zags are 104-6 in WCC home games since the last time they lost two WCC home games in the same season. The Bulldogs dropped back-to-back games in their conference home openers in 1995, falling to Santa Clara University 73-68 in overtime Jan. 19 and 68-63 to Saint Mary's Jan. 21. The Bulldogs downed Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University in their next homestand and went on to win their last five WCC home games that year to begin their current home dominance.

Gonzaga University had a streak of five straight games of shooting 50.0 percent or better heading into the West Coast Conference Tournament title game against Saint Mary's College. But the Bulldogs shot just 36.4 percent in the first half against the Gaels, yet trailed just 30-29 at halftime. Gonzaga finished a respectable 42.9 percent from the field for the game but SMC shot 68.0 percent in the second half to decide the contest. The Bulldogs went 3-of-9 from 3-point range while the Gaels knocked down 10-of-21 from beyond the arc.

Since suffering three straight losses early last season, Gonzaga University has gone 47-8. Gonzaga lost to the University of Connecticut in the Battle in Seattle, lost at home to Portland State University and fell at the University of Utah for just the third three-game losing streak in head coach Mark Few's tenure. The Zags then won 20 of their final 22 games last season and are 27-6 this season.

Gonzaga University senior Matt Bouldin has been named to the Naismith Trophy Top 30 mid-season list as compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is given annually to the men's college basketball player of the year. This year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Indianapolis.

 

 

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