Gonzaga To Have Eight WCC Television Appearances
July 31, 2008
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Gonzaga University will open the 2009 West Coast Conference men's basketball season Jan. 10 at home against the University of Portland.
WCC Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich announced the WCC slate Thursday that includes 17 games to be televised by the ESPN family of networks. The WCC is also reverting back to a Thursday-Saturday format for conference action, making the switch from the Saturday-Monday scheduling in effect the past three seasons that allowed the WCC to be a part of ESPN's "Big Monday" package. Game times will be announced later by ESPN.
The Bulldogs will appear on ESPN2 six times and on ESPNU twice during conference play. Gonzaga will play four straight games on ESPN2 beginning Jan. 29 at home against Saint Mary's College, and followed by games Jan. 31 against the University of San Diego, Feb. 5 at Portland and Feb. 10 at SMC. A fifth straight ESPN game will be Feb. 14 at the University of San Francisco on ESPNU on Feb. 14. Gonzaga will also host Pepperdine University on ESPNU on Feb. 21, then conclude the final week of WCC play with ESPN2 road games Feb. 26 against Santa Clara University and Feb. 28 at USD.
The move to Thursday/Saturday will mark the West Coast Conference's debut on ESPN's "Thursday Night Showcase". ESPN is the exclusive national television provider of the West Coast Conference.
"We are very excited about the change back to the Thursday/Saturday format," said Zaninovich. "The move will give us valuable Thursday night national television exposure on ESPN and we also believe it will be more advantageous to our student-athletes from an academic perspective and our campus communities from a fan perspective."
"ESPN is excited to continue our long relationship with the West Coast Conference, especially coming off a banner year for the conference," ESPN Director of College Basketball Programming Ilan Ben-Hanan said. "With the WCC now having a regular presence in our Thursday Night Showcase, college basketball fans will be able to enjoy as many as five games every Thursday on ESPN and ESPN2."
The conference's regular season ESPN package will conclude at the 2009 WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. ESPN2 will air both men's semifinals live on Sunday, March 8, and ESPN will broadcast the championship game live on Monday, March 9 in prime time at 6 p.m. Pacific time.
Last season, the West Coast Conference advanced a record three schools for the NCAA Tournament. San Diego, which defeated Connecticut in the first round of the tournament, received the automatic bid by virtue of winning the WCC Tournament, while Gonzaga and Saint Mary's each received at-large selections. On a percentage basis, the WCC qualified 37.5 percent of its teams for the NCAA Tournament, which ranked fifth in the nation behind only the Pac-10, Big East, Big 12 and the SEC.
The Gaels, Toreros and Bulldogs combine to return 13 of their 15 starters for the 2008-09 season, and in total, the conference returns a record eight All-WCC first team selections. Highlighting the returning All-WCC selections are Patrick Mills of Saint Mary's, who will represent Australia in the 2008 Olympic Men's Basketball Tournament, and Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga, the reigning WCC Player of the Year. The conference also welcomes three new head coaches in Bill Bayno at Loyola Marymount, Tom Asbury at Pepperdine and Rex Walters at the University of San Francisco.
Additional men's basketball telecasts will be arranged and announced by the conference's eight member institutions. The dates and times of these broadcasts will be posted on wccsports.com as they become available.
Gonzaga's complete basketball schedule will be announced as soon as it is finalized and all television games and times are in place. KHQ-TV in Spokane and FSN in Seattle will once again televise all Gonzaga games that are not televised by another entity.
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