Men's Basketball Announces Another Demanding Slate For 2009

Sept. 26, 2008

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Another tough slate highlights the 2008-09 Gonzaga University men's basketball schedule announced Thursday, with 12 NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago dotting the Bulldogs schedule.

Five of those NCAA teams will play the Bulldogs in the state of Washington, with three of them coming to the McCarthey Athletic Center and another facing the Zags in the Spokane Arena.

"It's another challenging schedule that will get us NCAA-ready," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "And like I seem to say every year, this is probably our toughest schedule yet."

And once again every Gonzaga game will be televised.

"We have another great television package," Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth said. "In addition to being on one of the ESPN family of stations 13 times and Fox and CBS national once each, we have 13 appearances as part of our partnership with KHQ-TV and FSN. This is the fifth straight season every one of our games will be televised. We continue to have one of - if not the best - television deal in the country."

After opening the regular season with a pair of home games - Nov. 15 against Montana State University-Billings and Nov. 18 against the University of Idaho - the Bulldogs head to the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla. Gonzaga plays the late game on Thanksgiving Day against Oklahoma State University, then will meet with the University of Maryland or Michigan State University in Friday's second round.

Other teams in the eight-team field are the University of Tennessee, Siena College, Wichita State University and Georgetown University, those four teams in the bracket opposite the Bulldogs.

Tennessee advanced to the NCAA Regional semifinals last season and played the Bulldogs in the Battle in Seattle. Gonzaga will return that game Jan. 7 in Knoxville. Michigan State also advanced to the Regional semifinals, falling to eventual Final Four runner-up University of Memphis. Georgetown also made it into March, losing in the second round to upstart Davidson College. Siena was also among the Top 64 teams in the country last season, advancing to the NCAA second round.

Speaking of Memphis, the Tigers will be in Spokane Feb. 7 for the Ronald McDonald House Charities Classic in the Spokane Arena which will also feature the return of ESPN's College Game Day. The show came to Spokane Feb. 11, 2006, when the Bulldogs downed Stanford University 80-76. The morning segment will take place in the McCarthey Athletic Center, with the 6 p.m. game being played downtown. The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs in Memphis last season and the teams played a thrilling game in the Arena in 2007 in the Ronald McDonald House Charities event, the visitors taking a 78-77 overtime victory.

Three NCAA Tournament teams visit the McCarthey Athletic Center. Portland State University captured the Big Sky Conference Tournament title a year ago and visits Dec. 23, with West Coast Conference foes Saint Mary's College and the University of San Diego also coming to town. USD downed Gonzaga for the WCC Tournament title on the Toreros home court last season, then upended the University of Connecticut in the NCAA first round. Saint Mary's received an at-large bid last season.

UConn is also on the Bulldogs radar this season in the Battle in Seattle at KeyArena on Dec. 20. The teams played last season at the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge at TD Banknorth Garden in Boston, the Bulldogs claiming the victory.

Indiana University and Washington State University also advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season and face the Bulldogs this year. Gonzaga and the Hoosiers will meet in the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge Dec. 6 in Indianapolis. The game will be the first collegiate basketball game played in the new Lucas Oil Stadium, home to the NFL's Indianapolis Colts.

Gonzaga will travel to WSU Dec. 10, the Cougars advancing to the NCAA Regional semifinals a year ago, one of two Pacific-10 Conference teams on the Gonzaga schedule. The Bulldogs will face the University of Arizona Dec. 14 at the US Airways Center in Phoenix.

Six teams on the Bulldogs schedule finished the season ranked in either the Associated Press or ESPN/USA Today Top 25 - Memphis, Tennessee, Georgetown, UConn, Michigan State and WSU.

The Bulldogs open WCC play Jan. 10 at home against the University of Portland, the first of three straight home games to open WCC play. The WCC has gone back to the Thursday-Saturday format, with Thursday games part of the ESPN Thursday Night Showcase. Gonzaga will have eight games on ESPN as part of the WCC package.

The WCC Tournament March 6-9 will also have a neutral-site home for the first time in the 23 years of the tourney as it moves to the Orleans Arena and will host both the men's and women's tournament. The men's semifinals (ESPN2) and finals (ESPN) will be televised. The top two teams in the WCC are seeded into the semifinals.

The Bulldogs will have one exhibition game Nov. 1 when Wayne State College visits the McCarthey Athletic Center in a game that will be televised only on KHQ-TV.

All Gonzaga basketball games will once again be broadcast on Sports Radio 1510 KGA.



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