March 12, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University Bulldogs (27-3) were awarded a No. 3 seed in the Oakland Regional as the NCAA announced pairings for this year's NCAA Tournament field. Gonzaga will face No. 14 seed Xavier University (21-10) during first round action on Thursday at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Gonzaga currently owns the nation's longest active winning streak at 18 games after the fourth-ranked Bulldogs won the West Coast Conference Tournament in Spokane last Monday. Gonzaga and Xavier will play in the first game of the night session at the Huntsman Center with tip off scheduled for 5:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m. PST).
This marks Gonzaga's eighth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and nine appearance overall. This is the second time Gonzaga has received a No. 3 seed. Last year the Bulldogs also played as a No. 3 seed in the Albuquerque Region. This will be Gonzaga's third tournament appearance in Salt Lake City. The Zags made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in Salt Lake City in 1995 losing as a No. 14 seed to the University of Maryland. In 2003, Gonzaga also played in Salt Lake City making the tournament field as an at-large No. 9 seed. After defeating No. 8 seed University of Cincinnati, Gonzaga lost a memorable double-overtime game to No. 1 seed University of Arizona in the Huntsman Center. Gonzaga is 10-8 all-time in NCAA Tournament appearances, 1-2 when playing in Salt Lake City.
Xavier played its way into the field of 65 by winning the Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament on Saturday evening at the US Bank Arena in Cincinnati. The fellow Jesuit institution will be making its 17th NCAA Tournament appearance and its first as a 14 seed. Xavier is 11-16 all time in the NCAA Tournament, making a run to the Elite Eight during the Musketeers last NCAA Tournament appearance. This will be Xavier's first tournament appearance in Salt Lake City.
The two schools have met once before on the hardwood. Xavier defeated Gonzaga, 87-82, on Dec. 23, 1960 as the Bulldogs played final game in a four-game swing through the East Coast & Midwest. Gonzaga opened the four-game trip on Dec. 19 with a game at Detroit University before playing Providence College on Dec. 20 and St. John's on Dec. 22. Frank Burgess would go on to lead the NCAA in scoring that season with 32.4 points per game as Gonzaga ended the year with an 11-15 record playing as an NCAA Independent.
The winner of the Gonzaga/Xavier game will play the winner of the Indiana/San Diego State game on Saturday. Indiana (18-11) is seeded No. 6 after receiving an at-large bid from the Big 10 Conference. San Diego State (24-8) is seeded No. 11 after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament. Memphis (30-3) is seeded No. 1 in the Oakland Region with UCLA (27-6) the No. 2 seed and Kansas (25-6) the No. 4 seed.
The other two games being played in Salt Lake City on Thursday will from the Minneapolis Region. No. 5 seed Nevada will play No. 12 seed Montana while No. 4 seed Boston College will square off with No. 13 seed Pacific.
Gonzaga University is currently selling tickets to the NCAA First and Second Round Tournament games on an invitation basis to current Gonzaga Athletics Benefactors. An allotment of tickets was also made available to the Gonzaga student body. That process will take place through the close of business on Monday evening at which time Gonzaga expects to be sold out of its NCAA ticket allotment. Fans are asked NOT to call the GU Ticket Office for NCAA Ticket Information. Salt Lake City is a sold out venue.
Tickets for Gonzaga students are being allocated through GU Student Life. Gonzaga students should receive an email notification regarding student ticket policies.