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Liberty Men's Hoops To Participate In 2007 Great Alaska Shootout
This will be the Flames' second appearance at the Great Alaska Shootout. In 2003 the Flames went 1-2 at the event, scoring a 65-48 victory against Canisius in the opening round before falling to No. 2 Duke, in the second round and Seton Hall in the third round.
"This Great Alaska Shootout field is certainly one of the strongest in recent years," said head coach Randy Dunton. "The elite status of these programs will provide a fabulous experience for our team."
"The positives from competing against these programs will be a catalyst for our team's performance level," added Dunton.
Dunton returns to Anchorage, where he began his coaching career in prolific fashion at the high school ranks, accumulating a career record of 127-36, good for a .779 winning percentage. He won a pair of state championships and his teams finished as state runner-up twice at Anchorage Christian between 1985-88. In 1989, Dunton led West Anchorage to the AAAA State Championship game with a 22-8 record before coming to Liberty as an assistant coach in 1990.
"It is an honor for me to have the opportunity to return to Anchorage and to have our Liberty University Flames be part of such a prestigious basketball event," stated Dunton.
Information on the other seven participants
Butler, ranked 18th in the latest ESPN/USA Today Top-25 poll, is one of the hottest teams in the country with an 8-0 record and the NIT Tip-Off title already under its belt. Led by sixth-year head coach Todd Lickliter, the Indianapolis school is a perennial Horizon League and NCAA Tournament contender. The Bulldog men will be making their first-ever trip to the Shootout.
Gonzaga, currently ranked No. 21, is 6-1 so far with a win over North Carolina to its credit. The Bulldogs, of Spokane, Wash., have reached postseason play 12 of the last 13 years, including a current string of eight-straight NCAA berths. Led by rising coaching star Mark Few, Gonzaga has won six-straight West Coast Conference regular-season titles. The Bulldogs were the 2001 Shootout runners-up.
Michigan, under sixth-year head coach Tommy Amaker, is currently 7-1 in 2006-07 and hoping to improve on its postseason NIT berth of last season. The Wolverines, who finished third in the 1987 Shootout, have won 12 Big Ten Conference titles and were the NCAA champions in 1989.
Texas Tech, making its second Shootout appearance (1990) as well, is led by legendary coach Bob Knight. The Red Raiders are 6-2 so far this year, leaving Knight currently four wins shy of matching Dean Smith's NCAA record of 879 career victories. Texas Tech plays in the Big 12 Conference.
Washington State has started 7-0 under new head coach Tony Bennett this season as the Cougars look to make strides in the always-tough Pacific-10 Conference. WSU will be making its first Shootout appearance since 1981.
Perennial Sun Belt Conference power Western Kentucky is 6-1 thus far in 2006-07 behind the play of Wooden Award candidate Courtney Lee, who will be a senior at the 2007 Shootout. The Hilltoppers, coached by fourth-year head man Darrin Horn, will be making their inaugural Shootout trip.
Host Alaska Anchorage will be looking for its 29th all-time victory in its own tournament when it tips off the 2007 event. Led by third-year head coach Rusty Osborne, the Division II Seawolves have won games in five straight Shootouts. UAA, which is 5-2 this season, plays in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Great Alaska Shootout History