Thursday , Mar , 15 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

West Regional action pits Bulldogs against Hoosiers

Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) – Familiar foes will collide tonight at ARCO
Arena, as the Indiana Hoosiers take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the
first round of the NCAA Tournament. Although the two schools have only
played each other twice, Indiana and Gonzaga met in the second round of
last season’s Tournament.

Gonzaga evened the all-time series at 1-1 with a 90-80 victory over Indiana in
that matchup. Over the past few years the Zags have been one of the top teams
heading into the tournament, but that is not the case this season. Sure the
Bulldogs finished with a solid 23-10 record, but the team went through a rough
patch during the season and also lost a top player due to off the court
issues. After falling to Memphis back on February 17th, the Bulldogs won their
final five games of the season, including a 77-68 victory over Santa Clara in
the West Coast Conference Tournament title game.

As for the Hoosiers, they are making their second consecutive appearance in
the Big Dance and 34th overall in school history. Indiana has a deep
tradition in the NCAA Tournament. In fact, the team has collected five
national titles, third most in college basketball behind only UCLA (11)
and Kentucky (7). The Hoosiers were a solid team for the most part this
season, and finished with a respectable 20-10 record. However, the team did
struggle down the stretch, losing five of its last nine games, including a
58-54 overtime setback to Illinois in the opening round of the Big Ten
Tournament. The survivor of this evening’s matchup will have the luxury of
facing either Weber State or UCLA in the next round.

As mentioned earlier the Bulldogs lost their top frontcourt player in Josh
Heytvelt three quarters of the way through the season and although the team
managed to make it through to the Big Dance it will be interesting to see if
the absence of Heytvelt down low will be noticed. Although Heytvelt is gone,
the Zags still possess a tremendous backcourt duo in Derek Raivio and Jeremy
Pargo. Raivio is pouring in 18.2 ppg on the season for Gonzaga, and has been a
threat from long range all year, netting 41.1 percent of his attempts from
behind the arc. As for Pargo, he has been all-around contributor for Gonzaga
throughout the season and heads into this game posting 12.2 ppg, while also
collecting 4.4 rpg and dishing out 4.6 apg. David Pendergraft will have to
increase his production drastically if the Zags want to overcome issues down
low. Pendergraft is only posting 7.2 ppg and is collecting just 4.4 rpg.
Despite the worries inside, the Zags are averaging a whopping 79.1 ppg, while
shooting a healthy 48.7 percent from the field.

Someone who will definitely take advantage of the Zags’ weakness down low is
D.J. White. White has been a dominant presence in the paint all year and heads
into this contest posting 13.7 ppg, while also leading the team with 7.0 rpg
and 67 blocks. The only other player that has put forth a consistent effort
offensively is Roderick Wilmont. The guard is currently second on the team
with 12.5 ppg and is also collecting 5.8 rpg. Controlling the game on the
floor for the Hoosiers has been Earl Calloway. Calloway is only chipping in
9.4 ppg on the year, but the guard has a team-high 117 assists and has
committed just 60 turnovers on the season. While the Hoosier do have some
solid contributors, the team for the most part has been mediocre offensively.
However, at the other end of the floor, Indiana has been very tough, holding
opponents to just 62.2 ppg, while limiting them to a 42 percent shooting
effort. The team has forced 443 turnovers on the year and has collected 199