March 13, 2011
SPOKANE, Wash. - The Gonzaga University men's basketball team (24-9) was awarded the 11th seed in the Southeast Region as the NCAA announced pairings for this season's NCAA Tournament Sunday. The Bulldogs will face the No. 6 seed St. John's University (21-11) Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
Thursday's meeting between the Zags and the Red Storm will be fourth meeting between the schools, with Gonzaga holding the 2-1 lead. Gonzaga and St. John's have faced each other in the NCAA Tournament once before. In 2000, No. 10 seed Bulldogs defeated No. 2 seed Red Storm 82-76 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in Tucson, Ariz., en route to the Sweet Sixteen. Gonzaga and St. John's last met in 2002 in the first game of the Great Alaska Shootout with the Bulldogs winning 65-58.
St. John's earned an at-large bid after finishing with a 21-11 overall mark and 12-6 record in the BIG EAST Conference. The Red Storm fell in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Tournament 79-73 to Syracuse.
Winners of 10 of their last 13 and 4-2 while playing as a ranked team for the first time in 10 seasons, head coach Steve Lavin led the Red Storm to their first NCAA Tournament since its now-NCAA vacated appearance in 2002. St. John's holds a 27-28 record in the NCAA Tournament all-time, from 1951-2000. The Red Storm has been to the tournament on 26 prior occasions, reaching the title game in 1952 and the Final Four in 1985. Only 17 Division I schools have made more appearances than St. John's.
This season marks Gonzaga's 13-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 14th overall. The Zags won a share of the West Coast Conference regular season title, finishing 11-3, and, as the No. 2 seed in the WCC Tournament upset No. 1 Saint Mary's College with the 75-63 victory.
This season marks the first time in program history that the Bulldogs have been awarded the 11 seed in the field of 68.
The winner of the Gonzaga/St. John's game will pay the winner of the BYU/Wofford College game Saturday. BYU (30-4) is seeded No. 3 and Wofford (21-12) is seeded No. 14 after winning the Southern Conference Tournament for the second-consecutive year.
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