I'm in Portland...we just drove in today. I like that Gonzaga got to stay close to home, but there was a big part of me wishing the Bulldogs were sent to Miami or somewhere else with warm weather. I'm just kidding...kind of. It's just as gray here as it is in Spokane (and it rained almost the entire trip here).
If you can't be in the Rose City...don't worry. I'm going to take it upon myself to give you best first-hand (behind the scenes) experience that I can in this blog. I'll try to get on here as often as I can (hopefully two or three times a day...time permitting), so be sure to check back often.
The whole reason we are here is the Big Dance. Gonzaga plays Akron on Thursday in the opening round. Tip-off is slated for 4:25pm. The game can be seen exclusively on CBS.
We'll have blowout coverage from Portland all week (and hopefully weekend) on KREM 2. I'll have live reports in the morning, afternoon, and night. We'll also have raw interviews, game previews, and blogs on KREM.com.
There's not much going on tonight, but tomorrow is a different story. A lot of fans will roll into town and the action starts at the Rose Garden (home of the Portland Trailblazers).
Here's what tomorrow looks like:
You can watch Gonzaga's news conference live on KREM.com starting at 3:45. The players are scheduled to talk until 4pm (they usually put three or four guys on the podium), then Mark Few will answer questions (he's also scheduled for about 15 minutes).
GU will hold a closed practice earlier in the day at a gym somewhere in the Portland-area, but they'll still hold a shoot around at the Rose Garden from 4:25 to 5:05. I was in Charlotte with Washington State last year at the Sweet 16, and North Carolina held a slam dunk contest during their practice time. I'm told by my photographer Brett Allbery, who has travelled to the tournament with the Bulldogs for ten years, that in the past the Zags have their deep bench players go one-on-one at the end of the shoot around. In the past, Nathan Doudney, Colin Floyd, and Steven Gentry have all been a part of the fun. It could make for some fun video, so be sure to stay tuned.
The day continues with Akron's press conference (streamed live on KREM.com) starting at 5:15. Just like Gonzaga, the players go first, and then head coach Keith Dambrot gets his 15 minutes. It'll be the first time we really get to hear from the Zips (aside from a terrible rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'" we showed on KREM on Selection Sunday). Akron hasn't played in the NCAA Tournament since 1986, so it will be interesting to see how they respond to everything (including the media attention).
The Zips practice from 5:55 to 6:35.
Don't forget about the Bulldog Madness Special on KREM 2 at 6:30pm. Chris Bach will be in studio with special guest Cory Violette. We'll talk to Cory about the first round matchup, this year's teams, his memories of GU, and much more (for those of you who don't know...Violette played at Gonzaga from 2000-2004). I'll also have live reports from Portland.
I just re-read this entire blog and realized there is a lot of promotion in here. I promise to axe that stuff from future blogs. I just wanted to make sure everyone had a heads-up on everything going on tomorrow.
It's our job to give the fans the best coverage that we can and that's exactly what I want to do.
I'll talk to you tomorrow!
Please feel free to leave any questions or comments below. I'd love to know what's on your mind.