TRACKING THE ZAGS
March 15, 2010
By Peter Tormey
The Gonzaga University men’s basketball team (26-6) received Sunday the No. 8-seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament and will face No. 9-seed Florida State (22-9) Friday at 4:10 p.m. (PDT) in the HSBC Arena in Buffalo, N.Y. This marks Gonzaga’s 12th consecutive berth in the NCAA Tournament, 13th overall. Gonzaga’s women learned Monday they are bound for Seattle. The 27-4 women Bulldogs, sporting an 18-game winning streak, earned a No. 7 seed into the NCAA Tournament. They will battle No. 10-seed University of North Carolina (19-11) Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (PDT) at the University of Washington’s Bank of America Arena.
For the men, It will be the first meeting between the Bulldogs and the Seminoles on the basketball court. Both Florida State and Gonzaga received at-large berths into the tournament after both failed to capture their conference tournament. The Seminoles, who earned a 10-6 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference, were tripped by North Carolina State in the quarterfinals of the ACC tourney, 58-52. The Zags won the West Coast Conference regular-season title, finishing 12-2, but lost 81-62 in the WCC tournament championship to Saint Mary’s College.
Last season, Florida State, the No. 5 seed, lost 61-59 in overtime to No. 12 seed University of Wisconsin in the first round of the tournament. This season also marks the first time in program history that the Bulldogs have been awarded an eight seed in the field of 65.
The winner of the Gonzaga/Florida State game on Friday will play Sunday against the winner of Friday’s game between No. 1 seed Syracuse and No. 16-seed Vermont. Syracuse (28-4) is the fourth No. 1 overall in the tournament. Vermont (26-6) is seeded No. 16 after winning the America East Tournament.
Gonzaga senior guard Matt Bouldin said he is pleased to be in the tournament again, his fourth in four years at Gonzaga.
“My first reaction is that it (Buffalo) is far,” Bouldin said. “Unless you are a 1-2 or maybe a 3 seed, you’re going to be playing someone tough every game and that’s how we look at it. I’m just happy to be in the tournament. Obviously, I wish I could have stayed a little closer to home.”
Bouldin said the Bulldogs will be able to play hard and loose because they feel they have nothing to lose and will come into the tournament as an underdog.
“One thing we’ve done all year is respond well,” Bouldin said. “I think we’re going in there with a huge chip on our shoulder. I think we have to.”
Gonzaga Coach Mark Few called the Seminoles “a phenomenal defensive team” that had a great year inside the ACC and will be a formidable opponent.
The winner of the Gonzaga vs. Florida State game plays Sunday against the winner of the (28-4) Syracuse vs. Vermont (25-9) game. Syracuse is the No. 1-seed in the West; Vermont is the No. 16-seed.
Visit www.GoZags.com for information regarding NCAA Tournament tickets.
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