Gonzaga In Strong Old Spice Classic Field
April 30, 2008
ORLANDO, Fla. - Gonzaga University is one of eight teams that reads like a "Who's Who" of college basketball that will participate in the third annual 2008 Old Spice Classic men's basketball tournament Nov. 27-30 at the Milk House at Disney's Wide World of Sports® Complex near Orlando, Fla.
ESPN Regional Television, Inc. (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced the field.
The Bulldogs will be joined by Georgetown University, the University of Maryland, Michigan State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Tennessee, Wichita State University and Siena College.
Gonzaga, Michigan State, Tennessee, Siena and Georgetown competed in the recently-completed NCAA Tournament, while Maryland and Oklahoma State participated in the National Invitational Tournament. Michigan State and Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
During this decade, half of the 2008 Old Spice Classic field has reached the NCAA Final Four. Michigan State won the national championship in 2000, and Maryland claimed the title in 2002. The other recent Final Four teams are Oklahoma State (2004) and Georgetown (2007).
The Old Spice Classic will feature 12 games in three days, with games being played Thursday, Friday and Sunday in the bracketed event. Pairings and game times will be announced later in the summer. All games will be televised on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU. Sponsors include Old Spice, ESPNU and Disney's Wide World of Sports.
"This is an outstanding field that will provide an NCAA-like atmosphere," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "Teams will have an opportunity to find out a lot about themselves early in the season."
"This year's event certainly captures the very best of college basketball," said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager of ESPN Regional Television. "To host this caliber of teams at a location like Disney World is a terrific combination. We at ESPN are certainly pleased with the tradition we have built here at the Wide World of Sports with our partners the MAAC and Disney. The previous two events have been fantastic and we feel this year's installment is another giant step in right direction."
The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) is serving as the event's sponsoring conference for the third straight year. MAAC teams have gone 3-3 in the first two years, and this year's entrant is Siena, which returns all five starters from a team that went 23-11 and upset Vanderbilt in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
"The Old Spice Classic has become the premier exempt event in the east over the last two years," said Richard Ensor, event host and Commissioner of the MAAC. "Arguably, the 2008 field is the toughest of any eight-team event being hosted this coming season. Siena will represent the MAAC well in Orlando this coming November. The MAAC remains excited to be partnered with ESPN and Walt Disney World and looks forward to hosting a great event at Thanksgiving."
The tournament is a weekend-long affair at the Walt Disney World Resort and participating teams are invited to the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks and other event functions.
"The quality and depth of the Old Spice Classic field continues to get better and better each year, and this year includes some of the NCAA's most respected programs," said Mike Millay, Director of Sports Programs and Events for Disney's Wide World of Sports. "Having such a stellar field competing at the No. 1 family vacation destination in the world makes this event the most attractive preseason tournament in men's college basketball."
Last year, North Carolina State edged Villanova in the championship game of the Old Spice Classic at the Milk House. Of the 12 games played, 10 were decided by 10 or fewer points.
The inaugural Old Spice Classic was played in 2006, with Arkansas defeating West Virginia for the championship.
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