Cougars in California Capital for NCAA Tournament
March 12, 2007
THIS WEEK: The Washington State Cougars, (No. 11 Associated Press, March 5 poll/No. 13 ESPN/USA Today) will face Oral Roberts in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament in Sacramento, Calif., March 15...game time is 11:40 a.m. and will be aired on CBS...Cougars are the No. 3 seed in East Region.
ABOUT ORAL ROBERTS: The 14th-seeded Golden Eagles are 23-10 overall, and 12-2 in the Mid-Continent Conference...captured their second straight conference tournament title defeating Oakland, 71-67, March 6...senior Caleb Green leads the team in scoring (20.3 points per game) and rebounds (9.3 per game)...Green was named tournament MVP after putting up game-high 28 points in championship game...only game this season against a ranked opponent resulted in a 78-71 victory over No. 3 Kansas, Nov. 15...only team in the nation to lead its conference in scoring offense (72.3 points per game) and scoring defense (64.7 points per game).
Tony Bennett ACCOLADES: Washington State Head Coach Tony Bennett has led the Cougars 25 wins this season, tied for second most in school history...named Pacific-10 Conference, United States Basketball Writers Association District 9, National Association of Basketball Coaches District 14, Collegeinsider.com Pacific-10 and Basketball Times national Coach of the Year.
MORE BENNETT: Tony Bennett is in his first season at the helm of the Cougar program...fourth year with WSU...assistant coach in 2003-04...associate head coach in 2004-05 and 2005-06...assistant coach at Wisconsin from 2000-03...became the first head coach at a current Pacific-10 institution to start 7-0 in his inaugural campaign at the school since Stanford's Robert W. Burnett was 9-0 in 1951-52...Bennett's accomplishment is tied for the third best start in a debut season at Pacific-10 school in the post-World War II era.
LOW AND WEAVER GARNER HONORS: Junior guards Derrick Low and Kyle Weaver were named All-Pacific-10 Conference and National Association of Basketball Coaches District 14 First Team...Low named first team for District 9 by the United States Basketball Writers Association...Weaver named MVP of the Pac-10 by Collegeinsider.com...first time since 1995-96 Washington State has placed a pair of student-athletes on the all-conference team.
BENNETT'S MID-CONTINENT LEGACY: Washington State Head Coach Tony Bennett's play at Wisconsin-Green Bay (1988-92) still resonates in the Mid-Continent Conference as he holds spots on numerous career record lists...Bennett, a two-time MCC Player of the Year (1991 and 1992), is the conference record holder and NCAA leader in career 3-point field goal percentage (49.7)...Mid-Continent career rankings include assists (second, 599), total points (fourth, 2,285), field goals (fifth, 792), and free throw percentage (fifth ,84.0)...also named Mid-Continent Newcomer of the Year in 1989.
FROM THE DAIRY STATE TO THE BIG DANCE: For the second time in school history, Washington State opened its season in Wisconsin...both times, the Cougars earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament...in the 1982-83 season, WSU won its season opener 66-64 at Wisconsin...this season, the Cougars posted three wins (UAB, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Radford) at the John Thompson Challenge in Milwaukee.
COUGARS EQUAL BEST PAC-10 FINISH: Washington State's 88-86 double overtime win over No. 23 USC last March 3 earned sole possession of second place in the final Pac-10 standings...first time WSU has finished in the upper division of the conference since a tie for fifth in 1994-95...equals best finish in Pac-10 history (1982-83).
WSU WINS PILING UP: The Cougars have won 25 games this season, tied for second most in school history...WSU posted 26 wins in 1940-41 (NCAA runner-up), and 25 in 1916-17 (national champions by the Helms Foundation of Los Angeles)...WSU's 13 Pac-10 wins are third in school history (14 in 1979-80 and 1982-83)...Cougars have won 14 more games than last season, second biggest improvement in school history (won eight in 1943-44 and 23 in 1944-45).
COUGARS IN THE POLLS: Washington State was 11th in the Associated Press poll last week and currently ranks 13th in the ESPN/USA Today poll...Cougars began receiving votes after upsetting then-No. 18 Gonzaga, 77-67 Dec. 5...earned first AP ranking (No. 22, Jan. 8) since Feb. 1983.