The NCAA Tournament has gotten off to an outstanding opening weekend. Some teams played to their potential while others took a giant step back.
Gonzaga was thought to make it very far in the tournament. With a number one seed and a team that was pretty strong, the sky was the limit for them in this weak field. But, the surprise was for the Zags, as they lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday night to Wichita State. And now the team that some questioned as worthy of a #1 seed has been eliminated. In some peopleâ€™s eyes, this loss validated their overrated status in this tournament.Â But if you look at this teamâ€™s numbers, it is easy to see why they received a number one seed. However, a closer look may reveal other things.
The Zags had a wonderful regular season in their conference. In fact, they went undefeated in the regular season. For any team to do that is truly a tremendous feat. But letâ€™s look a little deeper into the numbers. The teams that are in the West Coast Conference have usually been competitive. But this year, the WCC was down. The second-best team in the conference, St. Maryâ€™s, barely made it into the NCAA Tournament. The Gaels sported a 1-3 record against Top 50 RPI teams and were 9-1 for teams above that. And this is your toughest opponent? If the Gaels were the toughest, I would hate to see what the schedules of the other members looked likes. It is very understandable that the Zags have trouble getting the big schools to play them, but Gonzaga has to do something. Or else their seeding and bracket placement could take a hit.
Another amazing thing about Gonzaga was their overall record this year. The Zags finished the regular season with a record of 35-2. Now to everyone else, that would be impressive. But you also have to remind yourself that the Zags played two big-time opponents that they should not have lost to. The Zags were outdone when they were playing the University of Illinois. The Fighting Illini may have played in the Big 10, but they were a suspect team all season long . Another team that defeated Gonzaga was the Butler Bulldogs on national television. Despite their size, the Zags had trouble defending Butler on the way to their loss. And Bulldogs guard Rotnei Clarke did not even play in that game. Both Butler and Illinois were the toughest opponents Butler faced all year long.
Over the season, the Zags kept watching the dominoes fall around them as they continued to climb up and up the charts. They reached the #1 spot and also were able to clinch a #1 seed while winning their conference tournament. Gonzaga may or may not have deserved the #1 spot, but you cannot fault them for getting it. After all, the Zags donâ€™t make the final decision on where they land and where they play. All a team can do is play the games on their schedule. But after this loss Saturday night versus Wichita State, a lot of doubters had their suspicions proved.
What were your thoughts on Gonzaga? Did they deserve that number one seed in the NCAA Tournament?
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