Gonzaga has spent long stretches on top of the college basketball world this year with their most dominant team yet. There’s no time for a let-down in the WCC Tournament.
Gonzaga faces the same bias from the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee every year. The argument against the Bulldogs is always “Yeah they have an impressive record, but they play in the WCC.” In 18 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances under head coach Mark Few, Gonzaga has never reached the Final Four. Perhaps a lack of competition in their mid-major conference comes back to bite them more often than fans care to admit.
But this season, the Bulldogs have their best shot at a Final Four in years–if they can keep it going in the WCC Tournament.
Barring a spectacular collapse against either Pepperdine (9-21) or Pacific (10-21), who play each other tonight in the opening round of the WCC Tournament, Gonzaga will likely earn a number-one seed in the national tournament. Gonzaga, in spite of playing in the WCC, looks as dominant ever, with their loss to BYU on Senior Night their only setback of the season.
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A loss to St. Mary’s (or BYU, for that matter) in the WCC Tournament final wouldn’t necessarily drop Gonzaga from its presumed number-one seed, but the Selection Committee has surprised us before. To leave no doubt, Gonzaga would do well to take the WCC Tournament much as they’ve taken the WCC itself all year–by proving without a shadow of a doubt they are the superior team.
If they thump their archrival St. Mary’s in the WCC championship, the Bulldogs will have a clear path to the Final Four as a number-one seed. One thing at a time.
Gonzaga will play the winner of Pepperdine and Pacific tomorrow at 7 pm. on ESPN2 in Las Vegas.