Just as everyone even remotely interested in college basketball expected, Gonzaga earned the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament after romping through the regular season with a 26-0 record. The Bulldogs will be slotted in the West Region and will face the winner of the 16 seed play-in game between Norfolk State and Appalachian State.
This marks the fourth time that Gonzaga has landed on the top seed line, but the pressure on the Bulldogs to go the distance is undeniably higher this season than in past campaigns. With a spotless record intact, the Bulldogs will be looking to become the first team to go undefeated and cut down the nets in the National Championship since the Indiana Hoosiers did it in 1976.
The Bulldogs have been the class of college basketball this season after being named the No. 1 team in the preseason AP Poll and never relinquishing that spot as they romped through a schedule that included eight Quadrant 1 wins and five wins over teams in the NCAA Tournament field.
The Bulldogs won all but one game by double digits, with an 87-82 neutral court win over then-No. 11 West Virginia being the lone exception. Gonzaga could stake a claim to having the most dominant regular season in recent memory after posting the highest adjusted efficiency margin in KenPom’s database dating back to 2002.
All of the regular season accolades are nice, but it’ll be put up or shut up time for Gonzaga. The target on its back has never been bigger, and entering the tournament as the favorite to cut down the nets adds an additional layer of pressure to an already pressure-packed environment.
Will this finally be the year that Gonzaga breaks through? It’s certainly in the best position that it’s ever been in to do it.