March 16, 2012

Know Your Foe: Gonzaga

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Follow Noon | Rowland | Givler | Birmingham

2012 NCAA Tournament Third Round

Opponent: No. 7 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-6)

Date: March 17

Game Time: 2:45 p.m. EST

Site: CONSOL Energy Center (19,000)

Television: CBS

TV Talent: Kevin Harlan (Play by Play), Len Emlore and Reggie Miller (Expert Analysis), Marty Snider (Sideline)

Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)

Satellite Radio: Sirius-TBA, XM-TBA

Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 and AM-1460 The Fan

Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play) and Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

How they got here

The seventh-seeded Bulldogs dominated No. 10 seed West Virginia on both ends of the floor en route to a 77-54 win Thursday night. Gonzaga did so in front of a pro-WVU crowd less than 75 miles from the Mountaineers' campus. Robert Sacre[db] and [db]Gary Bell Jr.[db] each scored 14 points apiece.

Ohio State dispatched No. 15 seed Loyola (Md.) 78-59. [db]Deshaun Thomas finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds. It was just the seventh time a Buckeye has scored 30 points in an NCAA Tournament game. The point total was a career high for Thomas and the rebounds were one shy. Jared Sullinger had 12 points and 10 rebounds and William Buford scored 17 points.

The last time

Saturday will be the first meeting between Ohio State and Gonzaga.

The Buckeyes are 6-5 all-time vs. members of the West Coast Conference. The last time they faced a WCC team was in November of 2006 when OSU defeated San Francisco, 82-60, in Value City Arena.

The Bulldogs will be facing their third Big Ten opponent. Gonzaga lost at Illinois, 82-75, and at home to Michigan State, 74-67. Both games were in December.

The Bulldogs are 7-16 all-time against Big Ten schools and 2-3 in the NCAA Tournament.

Game Storylines

  • Sacre and freshman Kevin Pangos each earned major awards from the West Coast Conference. Sacre was honred as the defensive player of the year, while Pangos won freshman of the year honors. They were also named to the 10-man All-WCC first team along with Elias Harris. Pangos and Bell made the conference's all-freshman team.

  • Sacre is second on Gonzaga's career blocked shots list with 181. He is the fifth Bulldog to be named the WCC's defensive player of the year. He led the league in blocked shots this season with 25 during conference play and 42 overall.

  • Gonzaga is playing in its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament and 15th overall. The Bulldogs have not advanced to the Sweet 16 since 2009. The seven seed designation is the lowest Gonzaga has received in three years.

  • Gonzaga is 17-14 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. They were an 11 seed in last season's tournament, defeating No. 6 St. John's in the first round, before losing to No. 3 seed BYU and national player of the year Jimmer Fredette in the Round of 32. The Bulldogs advanced to the Elite Eight in 1999. They've been to the Sweet 16 five times and won at least one game in 11 of 15 tournament appearances.

  • The Bulldogs played five NCAA Tournament teams this season, compiling a 5-4 record against the foes. Gonzaga defeated Notre Dame, Xavier and Saint Mary's once and BYU twice. They lost to Michigan State, BYU and twice to Saint Mary's.

  • Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is the first Division I head coach to make an appearance in 13 straight NCAA Tournaments to begin his coaching career.

  • Few is second among active coaches in career win percentage. His record is 342-89 for a winning percentage of .794 to rank second behind North Carolina's Roy Williams. Thad Matta is fourth.

  • Few and Matta have 25 seasons of head coaching experience between them and neither has won less than 20 games in a season. Few (13) and Matta (12) rate No. 1 and 2, respectively, nationally among active coaches in 20-win seasons to start a career.

  • Nine current Bulldog players had combined for 23 appearances in NCAA Tournament play entering this year's tournament. It amounts to 432 minutes of experience. Sacre has the most, making five starts and playing 126 minutes. Harris also has five starts in four appearance for 119 minutes. Marquise Carter - two starts - is the only other play who has started an NCAA Tournament game.

  • Ohio State NCAA Tournament History

    The Buckeyes are in the midst of their 24th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and fourth in a row. Ohio State is 42-22 all-time in their forays into March Madness, winning the 1960 national championship. The Buckeyes have advanced to 10 Final Fours (1939, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1968, 1999, 2007) and been runners-up four times, most recently in 2007. OSU's road to the Final Four has ended in the Sweet 16 the past two seasons.

    History Maker

    Thomas's career-high 31 points vs. Loyola (Md.) was the seventh 30-point output in OSU's long tournament history. Jerry Lucas scored his record-setting 36 points against Western Kentucky in the 1960 tournament. He also scored 33 in '61 and '62, both against Kentucky. Brian Brown tallied 33 against Davidson in 2002, Dennis Hopson contributed 32 against Kentucky in 1987 and Evan Turner scored 31 against Tennessee in 2010.

    Captain America

    Sophomore center Jared Sullinger was selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as a 2012 First Team All-American. It is the second consecutive year Sullinger has received the honor and third straight season a Buckeye has garnered first team accolades. Evan Turner placed on the first team in 2010 and also named national player of the year.

    Sullinger was also honored by Sporting News as a First Team All-American for the second consecutive year.

    Sullinger enters tournament on hot streak

    Sullinger totals (12 points, 10 rebounds) against Loyola weren't the norm for the All-American, but he still tallied his 35th career double-double and 15th of the season.

    The sophomore has upped his production since the last week of February. He won Big Ten player of the week honors for the seventh time of his career after averaging 18 points and 14 rebounds in wins at Northwestern and Michigan State during the regular season's final week.

    Sullinger scored 22 points and grabbed a season-high 118 rebounds against the Wildcats. He also made the game-winning basket with 3.1 seconds left. Sullinger finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds at Michigan State.

    Sullinger averaged 24 points and nine rebounds in three games at the Big Ten Tournament. He turned in a 30-points, 12-rebound performance in a win over Purdue in the quarterfinals.

    Top 25

    Ohio State has seven wins over Top 25 teams this season, the second-most in college basketball behind Michigan State's eight. The conference as a whole has 40 wins over ranked foes, with each of the 12 schools defeating at least one Top 25 team.


    Ohio State is one of six teams in the Big Ten with 20 or more wins, the most of any conference. The Buckeyes' 28 wins are the most in the conference. Michigan State is second with 27. Matta has guided OSU to eight-consecutive 20-win seasons. As a head coach at Butler, Xavier and Ohio State, Matta has never not won 20 games in a season.

    Probable Gonzaga starters:

    G #4 Kevin Pangos (Fr.) 6'1'' - 13.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.4 apg
    G #5 Gary Bell, Jr. (Fr.) 6'1'' - 10.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.9 apg
    G #10 Guy Landry Edi (Jr.) 6'6'' - 5.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.9 apg
    C #00 Robert Sacre (Sr.) 7'0'' - 11.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.7 apg
    F #20 Elias Harris (Jr.) 6'7'' - 13.0 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.3 apg


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