Bulldogs-Hoosiers To Meet In Indianapolis Dec. 6
Sept. 5, 2008
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Gonzaga University will join three of the nation's other premier teams Dec. 6 to headline The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase as the first basketball event to be played in the new Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
For the third time in four years and for the fourth time since 2002 the Bulldogs will face Indiana University in the 1:30 p.m. ET opener followed by Big East-power University of Notre Dame against 2007 NCAA runner-up Ohio State University at 4 p.m. ET. The event, which is owned and managed by BEST, is in its third year and serves as an annual fundraiser for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
"The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase is an outstanding event. We have played a couple of great opponents in the University of Texas and the University of Connecticut the past two years, and Coach (Tom) Crean and Indiana will provide us another NCAA Tournament-like atmosphere," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "We all know Indianapolis and the state of Indiana is a hotbed of basketball. The fans will be treated to an entertaining doubleheader and we're proud to once again be a part of it."
Gonzaga has participated in the previous two showcase events, downing Texas and Kevin Durant 88-77 in the inaugural event in Phoenix, Ariz., Dec. 2, 2006, and stopping UConn 85-82 last Dec. 1 at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, Mass.
"What a terrific doubleheader to open Lucas Oil Field to basketball," said Crean. "This event brings together the best the sport has to offer - four nationally recognized programs, Hall of Fame legends and the new dome - all to benefit the Basketball Hall of Fame. We are thrilled that The Hartford and the Hall of Fame have chosen our great state to host what will be college basketball's best event this season."
The Bulldogs and Hoosiers played each other in back-to-back NCAA Tournaments. Gonzaga prevailed 90-80 in the 2006 NCAA Second Round at Salt Lake City, Utah, in the last game for then-head coach Mike Davis. A year later Gonzaga and Indiana were at it again the tournament, the Hoosiers prevailing 70-57 in a First Round game in Sacramento, Calif. The two teams first met Nov. 26, 2002, in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, Indiana claiming a 76-75 verdict.
Lucas Oil Stadium, which just opened last month, is home to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts and will serve as the host of the 2010 NCAA Final Four and Super Bowl XLVI in 2012. The basketball configuration for The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase will accommodate approximately 40,000 fans. Seating will be arranged in typical Final Four style with fan bases in each quadrant. Both games of the doubleheader are expected to be televised nationally, although no television deal has yet to be confirmed.
"We are ecstatic to host The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase as the inaugural basketball game in Lucas Oil Stadium," said Mike Fox, Stadium Director at Lucas Oil Stadium. "The participating teams, with all of their Indiana ties, are sure to be of great interest to many basketball fans throughout the state. The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase, on the weekend traditionally known as the true beginning of the college basketball season, is a fitting start to a hopefully long tradition of exciting college basketball in Lucas Oil Stadium. We are also hopeful to see one or more of the participating teams back at Lucas Oil Stadium for the NCAA Men's Regional next March."
This will be the event's first trip to a domed stadium. The event was launched at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix in Dec. 2006 and visited Boston's TD Banknorth Garden last year. The doubleheader serves as a mobile "bowl-like" event for college hoops, featuring four college basketball programs while building the brand and image of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a non-profit institution that recognizes excellence at all levels of the game. The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG), partnered last year to become title sponsor of the event.
"For nearly two centuries, The Hartford has operated its business by integrating the values of leadership, vision and integrity in all that it does," said Connie Weaver, senior vice president of Marketing and Communications for The Hartford. "We are honored to see The Hartford's name along side the Naismith Hall of Fame and the NCAA, organizations that share in our winning values."
As a companion to the games, The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase also features a rich schedule of community outreach programs and a youth clinic. It tips off its Indianapolis impact with a corporate golf event on Oct. 6, 2008 at The Brickyard. More than a dozen enshrined members of the Basketball Hall of Fame are expected to participate on the famed course that includes four holes inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Last year, the Greater Boston Convention and Visitor's Bureau estimated the event's effect on its local economy to reach nearly $10 million.
"Most people know I am a huge basketball fan, so having an event like this in Indianapolis is a personal joy for me and great for our City," said Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard.
Tickets are priced from $250 courtside to $15 in upper sections. Public sale of tickets for The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase begins at noon on Monday, Sept. 8, at the Lucas Oil Stadium box office, all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 317.239.5151. For corporate and group packages, please contact BEST Collegiate at 859.264.8020. Complete event information can be found on www.hoophall.com or www.experienceBEST.com.
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