Men's Basketball Releases Tough 2001-02 Schedule

Aug. 1, 2001

SPOKANE, Wash. - Five NCAA Tournament teams and a pair of teams that advanced to the National Invitation Tournament dot the 2001-02 Gonzaga University men's basketball schedule announced today, the toughest schedule in Bulldogs history.

"Our schedule is the toughest we've played," third-year head coach Mark Few said. "I think this schedule is as tough, if not tougher, than what we played two years ago. Top to bottom it's loaded with very good teams. We could play at least six teams that are going to end up in the Top 25."

The Bulldogs, 26-7 a year ago while advancing to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen for the third straight season, won't waste any time in testing their mettle. The Bulldogs open the regular season Nov. 16 at the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini finished the season ranked 6th in the final USA TODAY/ESPN Coaches Top 25 after advancing to the Great Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Illinois lost to eventual national runner-up University of Arizona in the Midwest Regional final.

Gonzaga makes its home debut Nov. 18 against the University of Montana, then heads for the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout Nov. 21-24. Gonzaga opens the tournament on Thanksgiving Day against St. John's University, a re-match of the 2000 NCAA Tournament second-round match-up won by the Bulldogs 82-76 in Tucson, Ariz. Gonzaga is in the same half of the bracket as the University of Texas and Oregon State University, while Indiana University, Marquette University, University of Tennessee and host University of Alaska-Anchorage comprise the other bracket. Indiana, Tennessee and Texas all advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago and all suffered first-round defeats.

Another NCAA participant from a year ago on the schedule is Fresno State University and legendary head coach Jerry Tarkanian on Dec. 6 at The Forum in Los Angeles, Calif., part of a double-header pitting West Coast Conference foe Pepperdine University against USC in the other game. An East Coast trip includes stops at NCAA Tournament schools Monmouth University Dec. 29 and St. Joseph's University on New Year's Eve. Monmouth lost a first-round game to defending national champion Duke University, while St. Joe's advanced to the second round prior to losing to Stanford University.

The two NIT selections from a year ago are a re-match with the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque on Jan. 7, and Pepperdine in the customary home-and-home WCC series Jan. 18 in Malibu, Calif., and Feb. 16 in the regular-season home finale in The Kennel. New Mexico escaped with an 81-80 overtime victory over the Bulldogs last season in the Spokane Arena.

The Bulldogs will also play in-state rivals Eastern Washington University Dec. 4 in The Kennel, University of Washington Dec. 11 in newly-remodeled Bank of America Arena, formerly Hec Edmundson Pavilion that underwent a major facelift and re-opened last season, and Washington State University Dec. 15 in The Kennel, the first on-campus appearance by the Cougars since defeating the Bulldogs 58-52 on Dec. 13, 1977. Gonzaga has a four-year contract with the Cougars that calls for the series to begin in The Kennel this year and alternate between Friel Court in Pullman and The Kennel over the course of the four years.

Gonzaga opens defense of its WCC regular-season crown Jan. 11 at home against Santa Clara University, and concludes the regular season Feb. 22-23 at the University of San Francisco and Saint Mary's College, respectively. The Bulldogs will defend their three-time WCC Tournament title March 2-4 when the tourney returns to the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus.

The Bulldogs, who open practice Saturday, Oct. 13, have an exhibition contest against Brewster Packing on Nov. 3 in The Kennel. A second home exhibition game is being scheduled.

In related news, the Bulldogs are sold out of season tickets for the third straight season.

"Our ticket situation has not changed much from the past two seasons," athletic director Mike Roth said. "We'll announce ticket availability for the general public on a per-game basis as we have each of the past two seasons, but when school is in session we don't anticipate many - if any - tickets to be available to the general public."

Roth said an expanded television package is also being discussed and details on Gonzaga's television schedule will be announced soon.

Gonzaga's complete schedule can be found elsewhere on this web site.



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