Gonzaga University’s men’s basketball team will open the 2012 Old Spice Classic against Clemson University Thanksgiving night at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on ESPN2 to conclude the first day of action.
The Bulldogs, who won the 2008 title, are ranked 20th in the ESPN.com pre-season Top 25 poll.
This will be just the second meeting between Gonzaga and Clemson on the hardwood. The Bulldogs claimed an 84-71 victory over the then-fifith-ranked TigersNov. 23, 1997, in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska.
Gonzaga went 26-7 overall last season, 13-3 and second place in the West Coast Conference. The Bulldogs had a streak of 11 straight WCC regular-season crowns snapped, second most in NCAA Division I history behind UCLA. The Zags received an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, downed West Virginia University in the second round and fell to Ohio State University in the third round.
Clemson went 16-15 overall, 8-8 and seventh place in the ACC. The Tigers, coached by Brad Brownell entering his third season, lost to Virginia Tech 68-63 in the first round of the in the ACC Tournament.
The Bulldogs are in the same bracket as the University of Oklahoma and UTEP. The first-round winners meet in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 23, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Time on ESPN2 with the losers doing battle Friday at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN2.
The tournament takes Saturday off, with the placing games Sunday, Nov. 25. The title game is sltaed for 4 p.m. Pacific Time on ESPN2.
All 12 games of the tournament will be played at the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., near Orlando.
The other half of the bracket has West Virginia University meeting Marist University at 9 a.m. Pacific Time to tip off the tournament, followed by Vanderbilt University and Davidson College at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.
ESPN2 will carry seven of the tournament games, including all four first-round games. ESPNU will air three and ESPN and ESPN3 will each have one game. The entire tournament will be available through WatchESPN, accessible online at WatchESPN.com and through smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider. The on-site games from the Old Spice Classic will air on ESPN3D.
Four of the eight teams in the field were in the NCAA Tournament field this past March. In addition to Gonzaga and WVU, Vanderbilt advanced to the third round and Davidson lost in the second round.
The family-friendly tournament is a weekend-long affair at the Walt Disney World Resort where participating teams practice, play and enjoy the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks. Tickets for Bulldog Club members can be purchased through the Gonzaga Ticket Office. Travel packages are available for fans and include resort accommodations at the team hotel, game tickets, theme park tickets and much more by going online at http://www.VisitAnthonyTravel.com/OSC or calling 888-632-6951 to make reservations.
Sponsors include Old Spice, ESPNU and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) will serve as the event’s sponsoring conference for the seventh straight year.
Dayton won the 2011 Old Spice Classic title, while Notre Dame captured the 2010 title. Florida State won the 2009 Classic, and additional winners include Gonzaga in 2008, North Carolina State in 2007 and Arkansas in 2006.
The Old Spice Classic is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN.