This will be the fourth meeting in the series that began during the 2009-10 season with an 85-83 Gonzaga victory over the University of Illinois in the United Center in Chicago. The series moved to The Battle in Seattle the following year and the Illini took a hard-fought 73-61 victory. Last season on the UI campus in Champaign the home team took an equally hard fought 82-75 victory in a battle of Top 25 teams. The Gonzaga-Illinois series goes back to 2002 when Illinois defeated the Bulldogs 76-58 in Champaign. The teams met Nov. 27, 2004, in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., Gonzaga falling 89-72 to an Illini team that would lose to the University of North Carolina in the 2005 NCAA Championship Game. Illinois went 17-15 last season, losing in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament after going 6-12 in conference play to finish ninth. John Groce is the first-year Illinois head coach, coming from Ohio University where he served four years as the head coach. Illinois will be led by 6-4 senior Brandon Paul, a third-team All-Big Ten selection last season who averaged 14.7 ppg and 4.7 rpg.
Kansas State University Wildcats (Battle in Seattle)
Saturday, December 15, 2012
The 10th annual Battle in Seattle will have a new face in Kansas State University, but Gonzaga will be more than familiar with the face of the first-year head coach of the Wildcats. Bruce Weber will be the first opposing coach to return to the sidelines of the neutral-court game, having coached the University of Illinois to a 73-61 victory in the 2010 event. He’s also faced Gonzaga head coach Mark Few four other times while at Illinois, the most recent last year when the teams did battle in Champaign, Ill. The BIS marks just the third all-time meeting between the two teams, with K-State winning each of the previous contests. The two teams last faced each other Nov 22, 2010, in the semifinal of the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., with the Wildcats defeating the Zags 81-64. The inaugural hardwood meeting was March 22, 1994, in Manhattan, Kans., where the Wildcats knocked off Gonzaga 66-64, in the second round of the NIT. Both schools reached the round of 32 in the East Region of last season’s NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs routed West Virginia before falling to No. 2 seed Ohio State University 73-66. KSU defeated Southern Mississippi University in its opening game, then lost to top-seeded Syracuse University 75-59.
Campbell University Fighting Camels
December 19, 2012
McCarthey Athletic Center
Campbell University of Buies Creek, N.C., is the other first-timer on the Gonzaga schedule. The Fighting Camels went 17-15 overall a year ago, 11-7 and third place in the Big South Conference. After spending 17 years as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Camels returned to the Big South last season. They were a charter member of the Big South from 1983-94.The Orange and Black have only competed at the NCAA Division I level since the 1961-62 season, not much longer than the Bulldogs who were first recognized as a NCAA Division I program for the 1958-59 season. The Fighting Camels lone appearance in the NCAA Tournament was 1992, the 16th-seed falling to eventual NCAA Championship Duke University in the first round. Robbie Lange is entering his 10th season at the helm. Darren White, a 6-4 senior, is one of three returning starters and paced the team a year ago in scoring at 16.8 ppg and also averaged 5.5 rpg. He was a second team All-Big South selection.
Baylor University Bears
December 28, 2012
McCarthey Athletic Center
Baylor University comes to town to face Gonzaga as a return game from two years ago when the Bulldogs edged the ninth-ranked Bears 68-64 in The Showcase at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. This year’s matchup will be the fourth meeting all-time between the schools, the Bulldogs a perfect 3-0 in the series. The first meeting came in the 1991 Coors Light Classic hosted by Fresno State University, the Zags taking a 77-75 victory in a season which saw current Bulldog head coach Mark Few in his first season as a full-time assistant on the Gonzaga staff after serving two years as a graduate assistant. The teams met in the title game of the West Region of the 2006 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT played in the Spokane Arena. The Bulldogs prevailed 78-69 to advance to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals. Scott Drew is in his 11th season at Baylor and is coming off a NCAA Tournament Elite Eight season which saw the Bears go 30-8 overall, losing to eventual NCAA champion University of Kentucky in the South Regional finals for a trip to the Final Four. The Bears went 12-6 in the Big 12 and lost in the title game of the Big 12 Tournament. Baylor was ranked eighth in the final rankings a year ago and return Pierre Jackson, a second-team All-Big 12 selection who led the Bears in scoring (13.8 ppg), assists (5.87) and steals (1.79). The Bears lost a couple of underclassmen to the NBA Draft, including AP honorable mention All-America selection Perry Jones III.
Oklahoma State University Cowboys
December 31, 2012
For the sixth straight season Gonzaga will play a New Year’s Eve contest, this one against Oklahoma State University in legendary Gallagher-Iba Arena. Cowboys officials are promoting the game as the biggest game in Gallagher-Iba Arena since the University of Cincinnati visited to open the 2001-02 season. This will be the fifth meeting between the Zags and OSU since the 2005 season but will be the first time the Bulldogs have ventured to Stillwater. Gonzaga has won the previous four meetings in the series, taking the first meeting 78-75 in the 2004 All-College Classic played in Oklahoma City, Okla., in what was known then as Ford Arena but is now Chesapeake Energy Arena. OSU was the opponent in the 2005 Battle in Seattle, the Zags All-American Adam Morrison calling his 3-point bank shot in the waning seconds to give the Bulldogs a 64-62 victory over the Eddie Sutton-coaches Cowboys. Gonzaga topped OSU 83-71 in the opening round of the 2008 Old Spice Classic to start the Zags on their way to the Classic title. The last meeting was New Year’s Eve of 2010 in the McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga brining the curtain down on the year with a 73-52 verdict. Travis Ford is in his fifth season with the Cowboys, who went 15-18 overall a year ago and lost in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament. OSU was 7-11 and finished seventh in the conference chase. Sophomore Le’Bryan Nash is the top returnee for the Cowboys, averaging 13.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg in earning co-Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year accolades a year ago.
Butler University Bulldogs
January 19, 2013
These two darlings of the nation who share the same Bulldogs will meet for just the second time when Gonzaga visits legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse to face Butler University. The only meeting between the clubs was Nov. 24, 2006, on perhaps the biggest basketball stage of them all – Madison Square Garden and the championship game of the NIT. Butler got the upper hand in this Battle of Bulldogs with a 79-71 victory which helped launch Butler into the national limelight alongside Gonzaga, which had upset No. 2 ranked University of North Carolina to set up the title-game showdown. Butler made back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2010 and 2011. The Bulldogs advanced to the 2010 title game with a 52-50 semifinal victory over Michigan State University before falling 61-59 to Duke University in the title game. The following year Butler beat three nationally-ranked teams in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Final Four where they downed VCU 70-62 in the semifinals and falling 53-41 to the University of Connecticut on championship Monday. The Bulldogs are coached by Brad Stevens, entering his sixth season. Butler went 22-15 last season, losing in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Senior Andrew Smith paced the Bulldogs last year, averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.2 rpg. Roosevelt Jones was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Last season was the last year in the Horizon League for Butler, which will move to the Atlantic 10 this season.