(Sports Network) - The No. 1-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs might not have received
the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but the team did position
itself well, earning the top-spot in the West Region on Sunday.
The West Coast Conference champion Bulldogs (30-2) have had plenty of post
season success in the past, but it's the first time in program history that
the Zags have been awarded a No. 1 seed.
Although Gonzaga has made a name as the "under-dog" in season's past, the
Bulldogs reached new heights this year with 31 wins -- the most in school
history -- and enter the tournament winners of 14 straight games.
Plus, the Zags have plenty of experience on their roster, as they've had an
impressive run of 15 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.
Up first for Gonzaga is 16th-seeded SWAC champion, Southern University. The
contest takes place in Salt Lake City, UT on Thursday.
Ohio State picked up the No. 2 seed in the West after the Buckeyes defeated
Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Conference title -- their third in the last four
years. Coach Thad Matta's squad takes on the Iona Gaels, who head back to the
NCAA Tournament for the second straight year after winning the MAAC
The winner of that contest in Dayton, OH, faces the victor of Friday's other
contest between 7 seed Notre Dame against 10th-seeded Iowa State.
After New Mexico earned the Mountain West's automatic bid by defeating UNLV on
Saturday, stud guard Tony Snell declared, "I think we deserve a No. 2 seed or
higher (in the NCAA Tournament) 'cause we definitely proved ourselves all
year. That's what I think."
While some may have dismissed Snell's statement, it turns out he wasn't far
off, as the Lobos landed the No. 3 seed in the West Region. They will play on
Thursday and face Ivy League champion Harvard, which earned back-to-back NCAA
berths for the first time in program history.
The Arizona Wildcats earned the West's sixth seed and play on Thursday in Salt
Lake City versus a dangerous Belmont squad which won the Ohio Valley
Conference over Murray State in overtime. The Bruins, who advance to the NCAA
Tournament for the third straight season -- after consecutive appearances from
the Atlantic Sun Conference -- are one of three Division I programs to earn a
bid in six of the last eight years.
Eighth-seeded Pittsburgh out the Big East Conference, faces ninth seed Wichita
State on Thursday, also in Salt Lake City.
The other Friday games taking place in Kansas City, pit No. 4 Kansas State
against the winner of Boise State/La Salle and fifth-seeded Wisconsin against
12th-seeded SEC champion Ole Miss.
The West's Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games will be played at the Staples
Center in Los Angeles on March 28 and 30.
The Sports Network