No. 7 GU to take on No. 10 West Virginia in NCAA

Zags Renew Rivalry With UW

The Gonzaga University men’s basketball team (25-6) was awarded the 7 th seed in the East Region as the NCAA announced pairings for this season’s NCAA Tournament Sunday. The Bulldogs will face No. 10 seed West Virginia University (19-13) Thursday at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Penn.

Thursday’s meeting between the Zags and Mountaineers will be the first meeting between the two schools. Gonzaga has faced Bob Huggins, head coach of West Virginia, before though. Huggins was at the helm of the University of Cincinnati, who the Bulldogs defeated 74-69 in the First Round of the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga has faced nine Big East Conference opponents in its history and has a 7-13 all-time record against the conference. This will be the second-consecutive year the Zags will open the NCAA Tournament against a Big East opponent; having defeated St. John’s 86-71 last season.

West Virginia earned an at-large bid after finishing the regular season with a 19-13 overall mark and 9-9 record in the Big East. The Mountaineers fell in overtime in the opening round of the Big East Tournament to the University of Connecticut by the score of 71-67. The Mountaineers closed out the season winning only four of its final 12 contests.

West Virginia is making its seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in eight years, which includes a Final Four finish in 2010; and Elite Eight finish in 2005 and two Sweet Sixteen appearances (2006 and 2008). Last year, West Virginia fell in the Third Round to the University of Kentucky 71-63.     

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This season marks Gonzaga’s 14 th -straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its 15 th overall. The Zags, who finished the regular season at 25-6, closed out the West Coast Conference season at 13-3, finishing in second place. The No. 2 seed Bulldogs fell to the No. 1 seed Saint Mary’s College 78-74 in overtime in the WCC Tournament Championship game.

This marks the second time in school history the Bulldogs have been awarded the 7 seed in the field of 68.

The winner of the Gonzaga/West Virginia game will play the winner of Ohio State University/Loyola University (Md.) Saturday. Ohio State (27-7) is seeded No. 2 and Loyola University (24-8) is seeded No. 15 after winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.