Stadium Shootout field set for December contests
WHAT: Men's NCAA Division 1 basketball, 2008 Stadium Shootout
WHO: Game 1: University of Louisville Cardinals vs. University of Minnesota Golden Gophers Game 2: Arizona State University Sun Devils vs. Brigham Young University Cougars
WHEN: December 2008, Date and Times still to be determined
WHERE: University of Phoenix Stadium 1 Cardinals Drive Glendale, AZ 85305
CONTACT: John A. Hines, Northwest Sports Cell: 206-295-6278, E-mail: email@example.com Scott Norton, University of Phoenix Stadium Office: 623-433-7108, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
TICKETS: Ticketmaster general on-sale date is scheduled for September 27, Range $15-$125
The Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority (AZSTA) and Global Spectrum in collaboration with Northwest Sports & Entertainment Inc. announced the first ever basketball games to be held at the University of Phoenix Stadium. The event will be a double header and will feature four teams who won at least 20 contests and played in a postseason tournament during the 2007-2008 season. The first matchup features the University of Louisville Cardinals facing the Golden Gophers from the University of Minnesota. Game two pits the Brigham Young University Cougars against the Arizona State University Sun Devils.
AZSTA President/CEO Ted Ferris along with John Hines, Director of Northwest Sports, introduced the event at the University of Phoenix Stadium on March 28. Arizona State Head Coach Herb Sendek and Brigham Young's Head Coach Dave Rose, along with representatives from each school's athletic departments were also on hand to discuss their participation.
Taking the court in this first basketball event held at the home of the Arizona Cardinals will be another team known as the Cardinals, the University of Louisville. They will take on the Golden Gophers of Minnesota in a game that will pair two championship coaches and former colleagues against one another. Both Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith led the University of Kentucky to National Championships in the 1990's and are looking to have the same success with their current teams. This Stadium game will mark the first time Smith and Pitino will go head to head since Tubby Smith left Kentucky for Minnesota in 2007. Big East power Louisville earned a three seed in the East Regional of the 2008 Men's NCAA Tournament. Entering tomorrow's NCAA action, the Cardinals have complied and impressive 27-8 record including a crushing victory over Tennessee last night in Charlotte 79-60. Louisville will now face the Number 1 team in the country, North Carolina, in the Elite Eight for a shot at second Final Four Appearance in the past four years. The Cardinals have reached the NCAA Tournament each of the last two seasons and five of the last six years, including a magical run to the 2005 Final Four in which they were a #4 seed in the tournament. Leading the Cardinals is legendary coach Rick Pitino who is the only coach to take three different schools to the Final Four. Pitino has reached the Final Four on five different occasions including 1996 when his Kentucky Wildcats won the National Championship. The New York native is 520-190 in 22 seasons as a collegiate head coach. The 2008 Cardinals should return six players who averaged more than 17 minutes per game, led by Terrance Williams who started every game this season and averaged a team high 35.9 minutes played a game. Williams also leads all returning players with an average of 11.0 points and 4.6 assists per game. The Seattle area native is also the second leading rebounder, pulling down 7.3 per contest.
Opposing the Cardinals will be the much improved Minnesota Golden Gophers out of the Big Ten Conference. In his first season at Minnesota, Tubby Smith was able orchestrate one of the biggest turnarounds in all of Division 1 Men's Basketball. Coach Smith used his championship background to guide the Golden Gophers to an 11 win improvement. Smith's resume includes fifteen straight 20-win seasons, four Elite Eight appearances, and a National Title in 1998. This past season the Golden Gophers finished the year 20-14 making the NIT where they lost to Maryland 68-58 in the first round. The 2008-09 Minnesota team will be lead by former Chandler Arizona High School Star Lawrence Westbrook. Westbrook, a junior next season, led the nation in scoring (41.0 ppg) at Chandler H.S in 2005 and also broke the Arizona single-season scoring record that year with 883 points in 22 games. As a sophomore for the Gophers, he started all 34 games and averaged 8.5 points in 23 minutes per game. The other game of the double header also includes local flavor.
Home town team Arizona State University will face off against Brigham Young University led by former Mesa High star Lee Cummard. Both programs look to continue their success following incredible 2008 campaigns. BYU, the 2008 Mountain West Conference Regular Season Champions, have quietly become one of the most successful programs in the west, making a post-season tournament seven times in the last eight years. The Cougs finished the 2007-08 season setting a school record for regular season wins with 27 against only eight losses, including a Mountain West Conference record with 14 league wins. The event will mark a homecoming for co-MWC player of the year Lee Cummard. As a junior Lee was the only player in the MWC to rank in the top 10 in nine different statistical categories. The sharp shooting standout is hoping to have the same senior success as when he led Mesa High School to the 2004 state championship and was named the Arizona Player of the Year. Coaching the Cougars is Dave Rose who has had unprecedented success in just three years at BYU. Rose was named the 2007 MWC Coach of the Year and his team has won the MWC regular season title each of the last two seasons. No other school has won two outright titles in the nine year history of the league.
Facing the Cougars will be the NIT Quarterfinalist Arizona State University Sun Devils. After a 13-win turnaround from last season, the Sun Devils became a conference contender and a ranked team during the 2007-2008 season. Led by all Pac-10 performers James Harden (first team) and Jeff Pendergraph (third team), the 2008-09 Sun Devils could contend for a Pac-10 honors. With Jeff and James included, all five Sun Devil starters return from a team that went 21-13 and finished 9-9 in Pac-10 play. The major reason for this amazing turnaround has been head coach Herb Sendek. Sendek has been a winner everywhere he has traveled, reaching the postseason 13 of his 15 years as a head coach. Regarded as one of the most intelligent coaches and best recruiters in the country, Sendek has NCAA Tournament wins with both North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio). ASU hopes this tournament success will result in a Sun Devils' trip to the 2009 NCAA Tournament, which would be the school's first since 2003.
This event was made possible through the efforts of the Arizona Sports & Tourism Authority (AZSTA). AZSTA is responsible for building and operating the new University of Phoenix Stadium; funding tourism promotion in Maricopa County; funding the construction and renovation of Cactus League Spring Training facilities; and funding youth and amateur sports projects and programs. AZSTA's many activities and projects contribute an estimated $1.95 billion annually to the area economy. The Stadium Management Company Global Spectrum has been instrumental over the past two years in the planning and development of the Stadium Shootout. Global Spectrum, a Comcast Company, is the fastest growing firm in the public assembly management field with more than 70 facilities throughout the United States and Canada. They provide innovative management, marketing, operations and event booking services for public assembly facilities, including arenas, civic and convention centers, stadiums, university convocation centers, trade and exposition centers, community ice rinks and theaters.
This will mark the second time in Arizona Northwest Sports & Entertainment has promoted a first ever event for a new venue. In 2004 NWS created the Arizona Republic Arizona High School All-Star Classic at Jobbing.com Arena. With offices in Gilbert, Ariz., Northwest Sports will be teaming up with AZSTA and Global Spectrum for the promotion and game day operations of this historic occasion.
NWS is a sports marketing firm that works with a wide range of entities, including high schools, major D-I universities, and professional NBA franchises. Northwest Sports & Entertainment creates, organizes, and operates basketball events and activities throughout the United States. Events established and produced by Northwest Sports & Entertainment include the Comcast Battle in Seattle, AT&T Cougar Hardwood Classic, and the Spokane All-American's Charity Classic.
The venue for this happening is the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ which has already hosted the 2007 BCS National Championship College football game and this past February's Super Bowl XLII.
Since opening on August 1, 2006, the multipurpose stadium has become one of the most impressive and renowned sports facilities in the entire world. In just its two year history, the stadium has garnered such awards as 2006 & 2007 "Best NFL Facility" by Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal and Sports Business Daily and 2007 Event Site of the Year by Event Solutions Magazine. When the multipurpose stadium was built, one of the main visions was to one day host the NCAA Men's Final Four. This extraordinary event will be a major stepping stone in making that dream a reality. The Stadium has already been awarded the 2009 Division 1 Men's West Regional in the NCAA Tournament, something unprecedented for such a young facility.