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Mar-20-2008 05:35

#16 Portland State Hopes to Keep It Close With #1 Kansas

Kansas has four players averaging in double figures and seven players averaging seven or more points per game.

portland state basketball
Deonte Huff (2) will need another MVP-like performance for the Vikings to challenge Kansas on Thursday. Photo courtesy: Portland State Athletics

OMAHA, Neb. - The Portland State ship will sail on uncharted waters today as the Vikings make their first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament appearance.

The Big Sky Conference champion Vikings will face Kansas in a first round game at the Midwest Regional in Omaha on Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:25 a.m. in Omaha, 9:25 a.m. Pacific Time.

The Vikings take their record-breaking season into the post-season for the first time since joining the Big Sky Conference in 1996-97. PSU went 23-9, winning the regular season title and the conference tournament title.

Portland State would have to be one of the hottest teams in the country right now. The Vikings have won five straight games, 14 of their last 15, and won their last 10 home games.

However, the Vikings will face a formidable opponent in top-seeded Kansas (31-3), champions of the Big 12 Conference. The Jayhawks defeated Texas in the Big 12 title game on Sunday, 84-74.

Also competing in the Midwest Regional in Omaha are #8 UNLV (26-7) and #9 Kent State (28-6). So, the winner of the Vikings/Jayhawks game will play one of those two teams in the second round in an effort to reach the NCAA Sweet Sixteen in Detroit next week.

The Midwest Regional will be played in the Qwest Center Omaha. The 17,839-seat arena is sold out. Creighton University and the Missouri Valley Conference are co-hosting the event. Free live stats and audio webcasts of the Westwood One Radio Network will be available at The Portland State radio broadcast will be available on AM 910 KTRO in the Portland area. The game will be televised on CBS.


• A school-record 23 wins (23-9) and 14 Big Sky wins (14-2).

• A nine-game winning streak and a 14-game Big Sky Conference winning streak.

• Currently, Portland State has won five in a row and 14 out of 15.

• The Big Sky Conference Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year in JR G Jeremiah Dominguez (14.3 ppg, 4.1 apg, 62 steals, 82 3-pt FG), a first team All-Conference selection in SR G Deonte Huff (13.9 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.7 apg, 51% FG), and a second team All-Conference selection and Defensive Player of the Year in SR C Scott Morrison (10.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 52 blocks, 58% FG).


Portland State University, located in Portland, OR, is the largest school in the state of Oregon with nearly 26,000 students. It was founded in 1946 as Vanport College - a two-year institution.

Athletically, Portland State began as a junior college in 1946-47, but competed in the Oregon Collegiate Conference (NAIA) beginning in 1948-49 to 1964-65. PSU became a four-year institution in 1955. The Vikings won five OCC titles and competed in the NAIA playoffs twice.

Portland State joined the NCAA in 1965-66. The Vikings reached the College Division playoffs in 1966-67. College Division was the forerunner to Division II. Portland State competed as a Division I program during the 1970s. The Vikings’ biggest star was Freeman Williams, who still ranks as the second all-time leading scorer in college basketball history behind Pete Maravich. Williams, a Division I All-American in 1978, scored 3,249 points in his career.

The university dropped the men’s basketball program in 1981 for budgetary reasons. It remained dormant until 1996-97 when basketball was reinstated and Portland State joined the Big Sky Conference. PSU has had six winning seasons in its 12 years as a member, including three of the last four.

Portland State won the Big Sky Conference regular season title in 2004-05 (19-9, 11-3), but lost in the Big Sky Tournament semifinals, missing a chance for the NCAA Tournament. This year’s tournament title (23-9, 14-2) and NCAA berth are the first at the Division I level for the Viking program.


Thursday, March 20, 9:25 a.m. PT, Qwest Center Omaha (17,839), Omaha, NE

Television: CBS Sports (KOIN Channel 6 in Portland)

Play-by-play: Kevin Harlan • Analyst: Dan Bonner

Live Webcast and Live Stats:

Radio: AM 910 KTRO (Portland)

Pregame Show: 8:30 a.m. • Tip-off: 9:25 a.m. • Play-by-play: Tom Hewitt


Portland State will make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division I Tournament and play number one seeded Kansas. The Vikings and Jayhawks have never met in men’s basketball... PSU is 0-3 all-time against teams from the Big 12, having lost to Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska. Kansas is 8-0 against members of the Big Sky Conference... Kansas is making its 37th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and 19th in a row... the Jayhawks have also been a number one seed in 1986, 1992, 1995, 1997, 1999, 2002, and 2007... last year, Kansas reached the Elite Eight before losing to UCLA... Portland State has an RPI of 90, Kansas is fifth in the RPI.


Kansas has more talent and size than the Vikings have seen all season. PSU has played two nationally-ranked teams, UCLA and Washington State, losing both times. The Big 12 Conference Champion Jayhawks are 31-3 this season and have won seven straight games. The Jayhawks rank first in the nation in scoring margin (21.0), eighth in scoring offense (82.1), third in field goal percentage (.506) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (.380).

KU has outstanding rebounding (+7.9) and turnover (+3.0) margins.

Kansas has four players averaging in double figures and seven players averaging seven or more points per game.

Sophomore forward Darrell Arthur averages a team-high 13.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. He has also blocked 46 shots and shoots .533 from the field.

Junior guard Brandon Rush averages 12.9 points and has a team-high 69 three-point field goals. He shoots .434 from long range.

Junior Mario Chalmers is the team leader in assists at 4.5 per game and ranks 15th in the nation with 2.4 steals per game. He averages 12.4 points, shoots .521 from the field and .480 from three-point range.

Senior forward Darnell Jackson is the team leader in rebounding at 6.7 per game and averages 11.6 points while shooting .633 from the field.

Head Coach Bill Self is in 136-32 in five seasons at Kansas. He is 343-137 in 15 seasons as a head coach overall.


Kansas was ranked fifth in the nation at the beginning of the week. Meanwhile, PSU is 0-10 against nationally-ranked teams since basketball was reinstated in 1996-97. This year, the Vikings have lost to #2 UCLA (69-48) and #8 Washington State (72-60). Head Coach Ken Bone is 0-6 against nationally-ranked opponents... Portland State has two players from the state of Kansas on its roster, Dupree Lucas and Brian Curtis, both from Wichita. Kansas has six players from Kansas, and none from Oregon.


Big Sky Conference teams are 17-51 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Since the tournament field expanded to 64 some 25 years ago, Big Sky teams have won games three times (14th-seeded Weber State over Michigan State in 1995; 14th-seeded Weber State over North Carolina in 1999; and 12th-seeded Montana over Nevada in 2006.

This is the sixth time a Big Sky Conference school has received a number 16 seed since the 64 (65) team field was established. Many felt Portland State deserved a higher seed, particularly as one of the hottest teams in the country over the last 10 weeks. However, the Vikings had early-season losses to teams with very low RPIs, including UC Davis (303), Colorado State (265), Eastern Washington (285) and San Jose State (238).


With a record-breaking 108-56 win at Montana on Mar. 1, the Portland State Vikings reached a first-ever 20-win season at the NCAA Division I level. Now at 23 wins, the Vikings have set the all-time Portland State record for wins in a season. Three of the top four winning seasons at the Division I level have come over the last four seasons.

Portland State won 20 or more games three times prior to becoming an NCAA member in 1965-66. Here is a list of the seasons with the most wins in Portland State history.


The year 2008 has been good to the Portland State Vikings, as they have gone 15-2 since the calendar turned over. The Vikings had lost their final three games of 2007.

Portland State has won 14 straight against Big Sky Conference opponents and five straight overall. PSU also has a school-record six-game Big Sky road winning streak.

The nine-game winning streak earlier this year was the longest by Portland State as a Division I program. PSU had a winning streak of 12, set in 1954-55, when the Vikings competed as an NAIA program.

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