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A return trip to the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, an ESPN "College Game Day" appearance, the third annual Comcast Battle in Seattle, the President's Cup game in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena and a New Year's Eve home game are just some of the highlights of the 2005-06 Gonzaga University men's basketball schedule announced Friday.
The Bulldogs will open the regular season and their second year in the McCarthey Athletic Center on Friday, Nov. 18 against the University of Idaho, then head for Maui to compete in the Maui Invitational Nov. 21-23. The Bulldogs will open against the University of Maryland at noon Pacific Standard Time on Nov. 21 in a game to be televised on ESPN2.
Gonzaga is in the same half of the bracket as host Chaminade University and Michigan State University, those teams meeting in the opening game at 9:30 a.m. PST. The winners of the first two games meet in the semifinals at 2 p.m. PST on Tuesday, with the losers doing battle at 8:30 a.m.
"This is the best field in the history of the Maui," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "We're looking forward to this early-season test to get us ready for another grueling schedule."
The Bulldogs appeared in the 2002 Maui Invitational, defeating the University of Utah by nineteen points and losing to Indiana University by one point and to the University of Kentucky by eight points.
The McCarthey Athletic Center will be the site of ESPN's "College Game Day" on Feb. 11 when Stanford University visits. "Cold Pizza" will air from the McCarthey Athletic Center on Friday, Feb. 10, College Game Day hits the airwaves at 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. PST on Saturday, the latter show leading into the 6 p.m. tipoff between the Bulldogs and the Cardinal on ESPN. The game will be the fifth meeting between the two teams with the series currently even at 2-2. The clubs last met in the 2004 Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif., the Cardinal taking an 87-80 victory.
The third annual Comcast Battle in Seattle will take place at KeyArena on Dec. 10 in a 1 p.m. game on CBS as Oklahoma State University and legendary coach Eddie Sutton will provide the competition. Gonzaga defeated the then third-ranked University of Missouri Tigers in overtime on CBS in the inaugural Battle in Seattle in 2003 and downed the University of Massachusetts last season. Gonzaga topped the third-ranked Cowboys 78-75 in the Touchstone Energy All-Collage Classic last season in Oklahoma City, Okla.
The Battle in Seattle will be Gonzaga's second game in Seattle in the span of seven days, the Bulldogs meeting cross-state rival University of Washington on Dec. 4 in Bank of America Arena on the UW campus.
The Bulldogs and Eastern Washington University will renew their rivalry again in the President's Cup in the Spokane Arena on Dec. 19. The Bulldogs have won the previous two President's Cup games against the Eagles in the sold out Spokane Arena.
Following the EWU game the Bulldogs will play at Saint Louis University on Dec. 22 and at the University of Memphis on Dec. 27 before bringing the curtain down on 2005 with a New Year's Eve matinee against Saint Joseph's University. It will be the fourth meeting between the teams since New Year's Eve of 2001. The Bulldogs won the first meeting in Philadelphia when Dan Dickau hit a 3-point buzzer beater for an 83-80 win, Saint Joe's All-American Jameer Nelson hit a late shot to propel the Hawks to a 79-78 overtime win in Spokane on New Years Eve of 2002 and Saint Joseph's prevailed in Madison Square Garden in the Coaches vs. Cancer season opener in November, 2003, to take a 2-1 lead in the series.
Other highlights on the Bulldogs schedule include Washington State University in the McCarthey Athletic Center on Dec. 8, a first-time visit from the University of Virginia on Dec. 17 and the West Coast Conference men's and women's basketball tournament that was awarded to Gonzaga last March. The women's tournament will run March 2-5 with the men's tournament March 3-6.
The Bulldogs open WCC play Jan. 7 at Saint Mary's College followed by a Jan. 9 game at Santa Clara University. Gonzaga makes its WCC home debut Jan. 14 against Pepperdine University and Jan. 16 when Loyola-Marymount visits.
"This is another loaded schedule," Few said. "But it's the kind of schedule we need to play if we are going to keep our program among the elite programs in the country and prepare us for what we hope will be another run in the NCAA Tournament."