Wooden Tradition Tickets Go On Sale

Oct. 15, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Pantheon International has announced that tickets to the 2004 John R. Wooden Tradition will go on sale to the public Saturday at 10 a.m. PDT.

The annual two-game men's basketball invitational will be held on Nov. 27 at Conseco Fieldhouse, with the tip-off for the first game scheduled for 10 a.m. PST time between Gonzaga University and the University of Illinois. The second half of the doubleheader will pit the Purdue University against the University of Cincinnati at approximately 12:30 p.m. PST.

The Illinois-Gonzaga battle presents one of the most highly-acclaimed pairings in Wooden Tradition history, featuring a pair of defending conference champions and three players on the preseason watch list for the Wooden Award, honoring the nation's best player. The Illini, under former Purdue assistant Bruce Weber, won 10 straight Big Ten games at the close of the 2003-04 season to capture the Big Ten title, and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen. Weber's team lost just one senior from last season's roster, and returns lightning-quick guard Dee Brown and backcourt mate Deron Williams, both on the Wooden Watch List.

Gonzaga, meanwhile, has transformed itself from one of the country's top "mid-major" programs into one of the nation's most formidable annual powerhouses, winning four straight West Coast Conference titles and ending last season ranked No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.. Coached by Mark Few, the Bulldogs are led by bruising forward Ronny Turiaf - a member of the French National Team, a two-time All-WCC first team selection and a Wooden Preseason Top 50 nominee for the second straight season.

Purdue and Cincinnati, meanwhile, is a regional matchup of teams that will play for just the third time. The Boilermakers and Bearcats, longtime national contenders and conference juggernauts located barely 100 miles from each other, have played twice in the past 102 seasons - in 2002 at the Las Vegas Classic and in 1902 in Cincinnati. Under 25-year head coach Gene Keady, who will retire at the end of the upcoming season, the Boilermakers return a trio of All-Big Ten candidates in Brandon McKnight, David Teague and Matt Kiefer. JC transfer Carl Landry was a first team junior college All-American while averaging 19.4 points and 8.9 rebounds at nearby Vincennes University. The defending champions of Conference USA, the Bearcats boast a tradition that includes 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances under coach Bob Huggins. Senior forward Jason Maxiell was a finalist for 2004 national player of the year honors and has been ranked among the nation's most talented power forwards. Street & Smith's preseason magazine ranked him as the best athlete in Conference USA.

Tickets for the basketball doubleheader range in price from $10-$120 per seat. Tickets will be available for purchase beginning Saturday at 10 a.m. PDT at the Conseco Fieldhouse Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, the Internet (www.Ticketmaster.com or www.ConsecoFieldhouse.com) or by phone at 317-239-5151.

Established in 2000, the John R. Wooden Tradition is an annual tribute to the legendary former coach and the excellence he personifies. Similar to the standards established by the Wooden Classic, its California-based sibling founded in 1994, the events host college basketball's elite programs. The Wooden Tradition is a celebration of the game of basketball and the activities benefit Special Olympics Indiana. In addition to the doubleheader, this year's event weekend activities will include the Wooden Tradition Coaches Banquet on Nov. 26 at the Westin Indianapolis.



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