Is This Finally The Year?
- Updated: January 30, 2017
Maybe its just me, but it seems like every season about this time we here the stories about Gonzaga and how Mark Few may have his best team ever and that Gonzaga could be the team to beat in this year’s NCAA tournament. I’m not ready to crown the Bulldogs your NCAA champs just yet, but Gonzaga is once again making noise out west and they now sit atop the AP poll with a perfect 22-0 record on the season.
Gonzaga usually plays a tough non-conference schedule and they do have wins over the likes of Florida, Iowa St and Arizona this season, albeit those games were played on neutral courts. In Conference the Bulldogs have been outright dominant with a 10-0 record and an average margin of victory a whooping 28 points. Obviously the West Coast Conference isn’t one of the premier conferences in the country and winning is expected for Gonzaga, but 28 points a game is an unbelievable number and has the Zag fans dreaming of a long awaited appearance in the Final 4 come March.
The Bulldogs have made a couple of deep runs in the NCAA tournament reaching the Elite 8 in both 1999 and 2015. In 99 the Zags made the Cinderella run to the Elite 8 as a 10 seed under Dan Monson and the head coach promptly moved on taking the head job in Minnesota. Enter Mark Few as the new head coach and Gonzaga has made the NCAA field ever year since he’s taken over. The Bulldogs earned a coveted number 1 seed in the 2013 tournament only to be upset in the second round by a Wichita St squad that made their own Cinderella run to the Final 4 that year. Gonzaga’s best finish under Mark Few was an Elite 8 appearance in 2015 as number 2 seed and they were knocked off by the eventual National Champ Duke.
So does Gonzaga have what it takes to get to the Final 4 in Phoenix this season? Only time will tell, but if they can get by 2 big road tests at BYU and at conference rival St Mary’s they should end the regular season undefeated and set up for coveted number 1 seed come Selection Sunday. So is this the year the Zags finally get over hump? Can’t pencil them in for my Final Four yet, but I certainly can’t count the Bulldogs out.