California to Play in 2009 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic

March 12, 2009

BERKELEY - California will join such powerhouses as North Carolina, Syracuse and Ohio State in the 2009 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic that will conclude with the final two rounds at Madison Square Garden in New York Nov. 19-20.

The tournament will include a 12-team field with games at four regional sites (Syracuse, North Carolina, Cal and Ohio State) from Nov. 9-13. Championship-round games will be played on November 19 and 20.

The four regional hosts will play two games at home and then automatically advance to New York, regardless of the regional results. All other participants will automatically advance to play a round-robin series at one of two other sub-regional sites, meaning every participating team will be guaranteed four games.

Match-ups for the championship rounds, as well as the other teams participating in the 2009 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the championship rounds at Madison Square Garden will be available Friday, March 13, starting at 12 noon and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 212-307-7171 or through ticketmaster.com. Tickets for the two games Cal will host in Haas Pavilion will become available when the Bears' full season-ticket package goes on sale in the fall.

The four schools playing in New York have combined for seven NCAA men's basketball championships and 109 trips to the NCAA Tournament. Their head coaches have also combined for more than 2,100 career wins to date.

In the 2008 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic championship game, Duke defeated Michigan, 71-56. Additionally, three of the past NCAA Tournament champions have begun their seasons at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic: Maryland (2001-02), Syracuse (2003-04) and Florida (2004-05).

The Coaches vs. Cancer program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), exists to leverage the strength and community leadership of the nation's basketball coaches to raise awareness and reduce the risk of cancer while raising funds for the American Cancer Society's fight to save lives from cancer. Since 1996, the event has raised more than $4.5 million for the benefit of Coaches vs. Cancer.

Visit coachesvscancer.com for more information on the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

A Quick Look at the Team That Will Participate in the Championship Rounds

Syracuse has put together a 23-8 mark this season (#20 in ESPN/USA Today poll), heading into the Big East Tournament. The Orange could return all five starters next season, including guards Jonny Flynn (17.3 ppg, 6.4 apg) and Eric Devendorf (15.2 ppg, 3.2 apg).

North Carolina is currently the No. 1 team in the nation with a 27-3 record, heading into the ACC Tournament. And the Tar Heels will bring in to the 2009-10 season what is currently rated as the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, according to ESPN.com.

California is 22-9 this season as the Golden Bears ready for the Pac-10 Tournament. The Bears lose only one senior off their 2008-09 squad and return their top four scorers, including first-team All-Pac-10 guards Jerome Randle (18.4 ppg) and Patrick Christopher (14.6 ppg). Cal will be making its first appearance in Madison Square Garden since winning the 1999 National Invitation Tournament title.

Ohio State heads into the Big Ten Tournament this week with a 20-9 record. The Buckeyes do not have a senior on their roster this season, so they could return their entire starting five in 2009-10, including All-Big Ten first-team performer Evan Turner (16.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) and Big Ten Freshman of the Year William Buford.

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