Hoosiers Open with Gonzaga in NCAAs

Bloomington, Ind. – History has a chance to repeat itself with the IU basketball team as it embarks on its NCAA Tournament journey. That could be a very good thing or a bad thing.

Bloomington, Ind. – History has a chance to repeat itself with the IU basketball team as it embarks on its NCAA Tournament journey.

That could be a very good thing or a bad thing.

Approximately 80 people affiliated with the Hoosier team gathered at Kelvin Sampson's house Sunday and found out the Hoosiers (20-10) earned a No. 7 seed in the West region. They'll face 10th-seeded Gonzaga (23-10) in a Thursday opening round game at the Arco Arena in Sacramento, Cal.

This marks the second straight season Indiana will face the Zags in the NCAA tourney. A year ago, Adam Morrison led third-seeded Gonzaga to a 90-80 win over the Hoosiers in the second round of the NCAAs, ending Indiana's season in Salt Lake City, Utah.

While the Hoosiers don't have the best recent history with their first-round foe, Sacramento has been kind to IU. In 2002, IU journeyed the home court of the Sacramento Kings as a No. 5 seed and beat Utah (75-56) and UNC-Wilmington (76-67) and eventually advanced all the way to the NCAA Championship game.

While no one on the IU roster was in Bloomington the last time IU ventured to Sacramento, the current crop of players are excited to get a second chance at the West Coast Conference champion Gonzaga squad in the opening round.

"This is a great case scenario - it's sweet revenge," A.J. Ratliff said. "We're coming in there with a chip on our shoulder knowing they knocked us out last year, and we want to knock them out this year and move on into the tournament."

Ratliff had one of his better games of the 2005-06 season against Gonzaga a year ago, scoring nine points and adding eight rebounds while playing a big role in limiting Morrison to 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting. That contest is still fresh in Ratliff's mind, but the same can't necessarily be said for everyone else on the IU roster.

"We only have three guys that played against them (last year)," IU Coach Kelvin Sampson said, referring to Ratliff, Earl Calloway and Roderick Wilmont. "Everyone from D.J. White to Joey Shaw, Lance Stemler, Mike White, Xavier Keeling, these guys didn't play last year."

Indiana enters the contest coming off a disappointing performance at the Big Ten Tournament in Chicago. The third-seeded Hoosiers dropped a 58-54 overtime decision to Illinois, a victory that clearly was the deciding factor in making the 12th seeded Illini the sixth and final Big Ten team to earn an invitation to the NCAA Tournament.

While that wasn't the result IU was hoping for at the United Center, they've said they've moved on and have turned their attention to Sacramento.

"(The Illinois game) has to be (behind us)," said Rod Wilmont. "It's a new season. Everyone in the tournament, it's 0-0. One game at a time. Take care of business and anything can happen."


Peegs.com Top Stories