The teams and matchups have been announced for the 2008 Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout which is sceduled for November 25-29. The participating temas will be Hampton, Louisiana Tech, Northern Illinois, Portland State, San Diego State, Seattle, Western Carolina andAlaska Anchorage. The matchups will be Hampton-UAA and Portland State-Northern Illinois on Wednesday, followed by Seattle-Louisiana Tech and San Diego State-Western Carolina on Thursday. Game times will be announced at a later date.
Alaska Anchorage bounced back from a tough 2007 Shootout to post one of the best seasons in school history, going 29-6 and advancing to the NCAA Div. II Semifinals. Coach Rusty Osborne new-look 2008-09 squad will be looking to defending its Great Northwest Athletic Conference title despite returning no starters from a year ago. The Seawolves are 28-62 all-time in the Shootout.
Hampton posted a 18-12 record in 2007-08, including an 11-5 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The Pirates, of Hampton, Va., are led by head coach Kevin Nickelberry, who will return high-scoring guard Vincent Simpson among his top players. Hampton will be the first MEAC school to appear in either the womens or mens Shootout.
Louisiana Tech becomes the first squad to come north as part of the Shootouts scheduling agreement with the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs, under coach Kerry Rupp, are coming off a 6-24 record, however they return one of the top scorers in the nation in junior guard Kyle Gibson. Louisiana Tech is located in Ruston, La.
Northern Illinois hails from the always-tough Mid-American Conference, having gone 6-22 last year. Head coach Ricardo Pattons Huskies return five letterwinners, including 2008 MAC Freshman of the Year Damion Anderson. NIU is from DeKalb, Ill.
Portland State had its finest season as a Division I program in 2007-08, going 23-10 and capturing the Big Sky Conference regular- and post-season titles before losing to eventual national champion Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. Big Sky Coach-of-the-Year Ken Bone returns the bulk of last years team and could be the league favorite again.
San Diego State, under the direction of Steve Fisher, should be one of the favorites in the Mountain West Conference this season. The Aztecs return three double-digit scorers, including two-time All-MWC pick Lorenzo Wade and forward Ryan Amoroso, who helped Marquette to its 2005 Shootout title before transferring to SDSU.
Seattle, a former league rival of the host Seawolves, will make its Shootout debut in 2008 as it returns to the Division I ranks for the first time since 1980. The Redhawks, coached by Joe Callero, were 18-9 a year ago in their last season as a Div. II program.
Western Carolina posted a 10-21 record in 2007-08, finishing 6-14 in the challenging Southern Conference. The Catamounts, led by head coach Larry Hunter, will return their top two leading scorers in 2008-09, including guard Brandon Giles and his 15.3 ppg. WCU is located in Cullowhee, N.C