Men's Hoops Taking Part In Desert Classic Dec. 14 At U.S. Airways Center
Oct. 10, 2008
PHOENIX, Ariz. - Four of the nation's premier teams will headline the Desert Classic on Dec. 14 at U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix. Sporting News Preseason First-Team All-American James Harden and the Arizona State Sun Devils face off against IUPUI in the 1:15 p.m. MST opener followed by the Arizona Wildcats against preseason top-10 favorite Gonzaga at 4 p.m. MST. The event is managed by BEST Collegiate.
Arizona State recorded the best turnaround in the nation last season by winning 13 more game than the prior year, finishing 2008 at 21-13 under Coach Herb Sendek. Led by Harden, a sophomore, and senior Jeff Pendergraph, the Sun Devils return their top seven scorers and 94.6 percent of their scoring. Entering his 15th season at the helm, IUPUI coach Ron Hunter has been instrumental in the program's ascension to a rising power on the Division I level. Last season, behind NBA first-round draft pick George Hill, the Jaguars compiled a school-record 26 wins and .788 winning percentage. The Desert Classic will mark the first meeting between the two teams. Hunter previously served as an assistant for Sendek. He is one of the eight former assistant coaches under Herb Sendek who are currently Division I head coaches.
'We look forward to playing in U.S. Airways Arena, a great basketball venue, and to being part of a terrific college basketball event for the Valley' said Coach Sendek.
'To have both Arizona State and Arizona playing in the same event will create an atmosphere unlike any other outside of March Madness,' said Brooks Downing, Executive Vice President of BEST Collegiate. 'The great fans in the Valley will have an opportunity catch both of their favorite teams early in what will be one of college basketball's top doubleheaders this season. And with Gonzaga positioned to be a Top 10 team and IUPUI as America's next great underdog, this will be a terrific Sunday afternoon of basketball.'
Tickets are priced from $25 to $200 and are now available at the U.S. Airways Center box office, all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 480.784.4444. Each school has been granted an allotment of tickets to sell to its respective fans, students and alumni. For corporate and group packages, please contact BEST Collegiate at 859.264.8020. Complete event information can be found on www.experienceBEST.com