The day has come and later this afternoon Gonzaga and West Virginia will tip off in Pittsburgh for a fight to the round of 32. The Zags have been called America’s Team over the years, pulling off upsets and making their way through the Big Dance as the victorious mid-major program out of the northwest. Can they do it again, or will they fall to the hands of the east coast dominance?
West Virginia and most of the country sure don’t think so. The Bulldogs may have the higher seed as a seven spot, but the Mountaineers don’t see their ten seed as a barrier to victory. WVU travelled an hour to get to Pittsburgh by bus—Gonzaga flew 2,500 miles to get to Steel City for the game.
This matchup bars extremely close resemblance with the 2010 NCAA tournament, where the Zags played Syracuse in Buffalo, NY; practically a home game for the Orange. Call it East Coast bias, call it mid-major neglect, call it whatever you want, Gonzaga is not in a favorable position to move on to the next round.
Despite it all, GU has the chance to make a statement. Taking down the Mountaineers in front of their crowd, while proving to the country that the little mid-major school from Spokane, Washington can take on any opponent, anywhere is what Gonzaga basketball is all about.
During the nonconference portion of the year, the Bulldogs are always willing to travel anywhere to face the best the nation has to offer, so why should the postseason be any different? It shouldn’t; it isn’t. Let the Big East overflow the bracket with nine teams, let the power conferences have their spotlights, and let the little guys make the big statements.
Gonzaga finished the regular season with a 25-6 overall record; West Virginia ended at 19-13. The only mutual opponent the two teams played was Oral Roberts, both of whom won their game against ORU, respectively. Tip-off is at 4:20(PST) on TNT.