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Gonzaga Basketball

A look at Zags and their bracket

Mon., March 15, 2010

Gonzaga will be the No. 8 seed, taking on No. 9 Florida State on Friday in the West Bracket in Buffalo. The other half of the bracket has No. 1 Syracuse facing No. 16 Vermont. Here’s a look at the four teams:

No. 8 Gonzaga

Coach: Mark Few

Record: 26-6

Strength: The Bulldogs have been proficient in tournament settings (Maui Invitational) and in games following quick turnarounds (Oklahoma and Illinois), so they should be equipped to handle an NCAA scenario.

Season highlight: GU won the Maui Invitational, captured its 10th consecutive WCC regular-season title and will make its 12th straight appearance in the NCAAs.

Style of play: Prefers up-tempo pace, but it can win slower, possession-by- possession games.

No. 9 Florida State

Coach: Leonard Hamilton

Record: 22-9

Strength: The Seminoles rely on defense. They are athletic, tall and long, which helps disrupt opposing offenses.

Season highlight: Early on in the ACC, Solomon Alabi and Deividas Duklys each scored 13 points as FSU knocked off Virginia Tech 63-58 giving FSU the third seed in the tournament.

Style of play: FSU prefers a slower pace and likes to utilize a sizable front line that is 7-1, 6-9 and 6-8. The Seminoles shot 70 more free throws than opponents and attempted 73 fewer 3-pointers.

No. 1 Syracuse

Coach: Jim Boeheim

Record: 28-4

Strength: Syracuse is one of the most talented teams in the country and spent a week at No. 1 before losing to Louisville. Forward Wes Johnson is Big East Conference player of the year. He averaged 16 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

Season highlight: Take your pick. They defeated Villanova 95-77, won at West Virginia, 72-71, won at Georgetown, 75-71.

Style of play: Syracuse is known for its stingy 2-3 zone. The Orange held opponents to 39.9 percent shooting from the field and 31 percent on 3s.

No. 16 Vermont

Coach: Mike Lonergan

Record: 25-9

Strength: Vermont comes in having won 11 of its last 12 games. The Catamounts routinely keep opponents under 60 points.

Season highlight: The Catamounts defeated Boston University 83-70 to win the America East Tournament and earn an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.

Style of play: Defense is the key for the Catamounts. Opponents are making 39.7 percent of their field-goal attempts. Vermont limited New Hampshire to 13 field goals in a 57-38 victory a week ago.

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