The GW men’s basketball team will make its first NCAA Tournament appearance in two years Friday at 7:40 p.m. in Lexington, Ky. against Oklahoma State University.
GW was seeded ninth in the South Region by the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee Sunday. Ninth is the highest GW ever has been seeded in the NCAA Tournament. However, the Colonials received the lowest seed of the five Atlantic 10 teams in the NCAA Tournament, despite finishing second in last weekend’s A-10 Tournament.
“I did not question the selection committee when they put us in (the NCAA Tournament) when a lot of people didn’t think we deserved to get in, and I’m not going to question them now,” GW Coach Mike Jarvis said. “The committee obviously thinks GW-Oklahoma State is a good game and I think the committee will be proven right.”
GW (24-8) last played in the NCAA Tournament in 1996 as an 11th seed and lost to the University of Iowa in the first round 81-79. It was a heart-breaking loss for the Colonials, who held a 17-point lead with eight minutes left before a 25-6 run won the game for the Hawkeyes.
GW has made the NCAA Tournament in four of the last six years and this is the sixth consecutive year the Colonials have been in a postseason tournament.
In Oklahoma State, GW will face a much shorter team. The Cowboys’ regularly play eight players, only two of whom are taller than 6-9. Starting center Brett Robisch (6-11, 255 lbs.) averages 15.4 points per game and 8.2 rebounds per game and should provide a good match-up for GW center Alexander Koul.
The Cowboys finished 21-6 this season under Coach Eddie Sutton, but lost to University of Texas in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament. They are led by a talented trio of guards.
Junior Adrian Peterson leads Oklahoma State in scoring, averaging 17.6 ppg and grabs 6.8 rpg. In addition, sophomore guard Joe Adkins scores 12.2 ppg. Sophomore point guard Doug Gottlieb runs the offense. Gottlieb, a transfer from Notre Dame University, averages nearly seven assists per game.
Reserve guard Chad Alexander is Oklahoma State’s best three-point shooter, making 39 percent of his three-point shots.
“It’s going to be a tough basketball game,” Jarvis said. “They have a great coach and I know they’re going to play tough man-to-man defense.”
If GW wins in the first round, it would almost certainly face Duke University in the second round, but Jarvis said he has not considered a possible match-up with one of the nation’s top teams.
“Nobody thinks about the second round without getting through the first round. I’m not even thinking about Duke,” he said.
Jarvis said freshman forward Antxon Iturbe, who has missed the last six games with a stress fracture in his left ankle, may be available to play Friday.