July 5, 1997

    Friars to Participate in Great Eight Basketball Classic

    PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College Friars will travel to Chicago, Illinois on Tuesday, December 2nd to participate in the 1997 DIRECTV Great Eight Basketball Classic. The Classic will be played at Chicago's United Center. The announcement of the pairings was made by Raycom Sports and ESPN, in conjunction with the Division I-A Athletic Director's Association.

    The Great Eight will feature six of the eight schools that advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight last March. Providence will play in the first game on Tuesday, December 2nd against the University of Utah Utes. That game is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised by ESPN. Also appearing in Chicago will be Kansas, Arizona, North Carolina, Louisville, Kentucky and Purdue. Minnesota was unable to attend due to prior commitments and was replaced by Purdue. NCAA rules allow only one school per conference which is why Kansas replaces UCLA.

    The schedule of games is as follows:
        Tuesday, December 2     Providence vs. Utah                 7:30 p.m.
                                Kansas vs. Arizona                  9:30 p.m.
        Wednesday, December 3   North Carolina vs. Louisville       7:30 p.m.
                                Kentucky vs. Purdue                 9:30 p.m.


    All times are Eastern Standard Times and will be televised by ESPN.

    Providence (24-12) will face Utah (29-5) for just the third time in the two school's basketball histories. The Friars lost in Salt Lake City (86-62) on December 2, 1987 and then won the return match in Providence (78-67) on December 23, 1989. Coach Rick Majerus' Utes were ranked sixth in the final USA Today/CNN Poll while the Friars were ranked 15th.

    The Friars' season ended last year in the Southeastern Regional final with a 96-92 overtime loss to eventual NCAA Champion, Arizona. Utah advanced to the Elite Eight where the Utes' season came to an end with a loss to Kentucky, 72-59.