Bulldogs In 2007 Great Alaska Shootout
Nov. 30, 2006
ANCHORAGE, AK - Gonzaga University will join seven other teams at the 2007 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout to be held Nov. 20-24 at Sullivan Arena.
The Bulldogs will be in some familiar company. Butler University, which last week defeated Gonzaga in the title game of the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Tip Off Classic; Texas Tech University, which defeated Gonzaga in the second round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament, and nearby rival Washington State University will be joined by Liberty University, the University of Michigan, Western Kentucky University and host University of Alaska-Anchorage.
Gonzaga competed in the 2001 tournament in head coach Mark Few's third year, defeating St. John's University 65-58 and the University of Texas 67-64 prior to losing to Marquette University and tourney MVP Dwayne Wade 72-63. Few is in his eighth season as head coach, having taken the Bulldogs to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first seven seasons. Gonzaga has made eight straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
"This is a great opportunity," Few said. "We'll get an opportunity to play some of the best competition in the country in one of the most prestigious eight-team tournaments still remaining."
Gonzaga entered Thursday's game against Portland State University 6-1 and ranked 21st in the latest USA Today/ESPN poll and 23rd in the Associated Press rankings. Gonzaga defeated second-ranked University of North Carolina in the NIT semifinals in Madison Square Garden.
Butler is 8-0 and ranked 18th in the USA Today/ESPN rankings. Liberty is coached by former Alaska prep coach Randy Dunton (West Anchorage, Anchorage Christian) and will be making its second trip to the Shootout, having finished fifth in 2003. The Flames, of Lynchburg, Va., are members of the Big South Conference and are 3-1 thus far this season.
Head coach Tommy Amaker currently has Michigan 7-1. The Wolverines finished third in the 1987 Shootout.
Texas Tech, making its second Shootout appearance (1990) as well, is led by legendary coach Bob Knight. The Red Raiders are 6-2 so far this year, leaving Knight currently four wins shy of matching Dean Smith's NCAA record of 879 career victories.
WSU, which will entertain Gonzaga on Tuesday, has started 7-0 under new head coach Tony Bennett. The Cougars will be making their first Shootout appearance since 1981.
Perennial Sun Belt Conference power Western Kentucky is 6-1 thus far behind the play of Wooden Award candidate Courtney Lee, who will be a senior at the 2007 Shootout. The Hilltoppers, coached by 4th-year head man Darrin Horn, will be making their inaugural Shootout trip.
Host Alaska Anchorage will be looking for its 29th all-time victory in its tournament when it tips off the 2007 event. Led by third-year head coach Rusty Osborne, the Division II Seawolves have won games in five straight Shootouts. UAA, which is 5-2 this season, plays in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Pairings and game times will be announced later.
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