The tournament is Gonzaga’s crown jewel, but the Bulldogs love to share that glory with others.

The Zags, ranked number 2 in the West Coast Conference, are among three West Coast Conference teams participating in the NCAA Tournament. They will be competing against Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, who were the only two teams to defeat Gonzaga in conference play.

This is the third consecutive time that the WCC sends three teams to the tourney.

This year’s tournament saw four Mountain West teams participate, the most since 2013, and the most of any mid-major conference. These include Wyoming, Colorado State and San Diego State. Wyoming lost to Indiana in Tuesday’s First Four.

Drew Timme, Gonzaga’s director of Power Five, said, “So all that Power Five stuff? You know, it’s getting quite old now.”

Gonzaga has enjoyed so much success in both the regular season as well as the tournament, that the Bulldogs have long since gone from a plucky mid-major team to an established powerhouse — a major/mid-major. Gonzaga still needs the elusive national championship. They lost to Baylor last season in the title match and lost to North Carolina in 2017’s championship game.

Gonzaga faces No. On Thursday, Georgia State will be the 16th seed in Portland. No. 8 seed Boise State will take on ninth-seeded Memphis.

The West Region also features No. 4 seeded Arkansas against No. 13 Vermont and fifth-seeded UConn against No. 12 seed New Mexico State. Both games will be played in Buffalo, New York.

Both Gonzaga and Boise State will play in Saturday’s second round if they win. In that case, Gonzaga will let go of its pride as a mid-major and concentrate on the game. It would feature former assistant Leon Rice against Gonzaga coach Mark Few.

Few stated, “You want them to win every game, but at this point it’s the NCAA Tournament. It’s just about who’s going to play next, and getting wins.”

UNLV, which was established in 1985 as a tournament expansion, is the only mid-major team to win an NCAA title. UNLV defeated Duke in 1990.

At the moment, Gonzaga is focusing on Georgia State (18-10), which is a fellow Sun Belt Conference mid-major. This year’s NCAA appearance marks the Panthers fourth in eight years.

Georgia State enters the tournament with a winning streak of 10 games, highlighted by a win over Louisiana in Sun Belt championship.

A No. 16 seed has knocked off the No. 1 seed: The shocking defeat of Virginia by the UMBC in 2018. Virginia was the No. The tournament’s No. 1 seed that year was Virginia, just like the Zags are this season.


The Broncos (27) won the Mountain West regular-season championship and then took home the first conference tournament title, defeating San Diego State. Boise State won 14 games and had the most wins in its history.

“We believe in ourselves. “We made history, but we still have more to do,” said guard Emmanuel Akot. “We are going in and taking it one by one.”

They will face Memphis (21-10), who is back in the tournament after 2014. Jalen Duren was American freshman of year. However, the Tigers have been without Emoni Baates since January due to a back injury. Bates was able to travel with the team from Boston, but Penny Hardaway wasn’t sure if he would play.


UConn (23-9), is coming off a defeat to Villanova at the Big East tournament. The Huskies might have been lucky to land in Buffalo, where they won the national championships in 2004/2014. UConn holds four national championships.

New Mexico State (26-6), the Huskies’ opponent, defeated Abilene Christian to win the WAC tournament title. It also earned the automatic berth. This marks the 23rd appearance of the Huskies in the Big Dance. New Mexico State reached the Final Four in 1970, but was defeated by UCLA.

UConn coach Dan Hurley praised New Mexico State’s leading scorer Teddy Allen, calling them “a bucket”.

“Teddy is a very energetic and pop-oriented player. I don’t think there is anyone in Big East who has this type of release. You just have to keep your cool and not be too harsh on him. He has so much stuff off his dribble. Hurley stated that he is a master at head and shoulder fakes. You just have to keep your cool and not get aggressive. He is an incredible counter-puncher.

Allen was cautious about Hurley’s high praise.

Allen stated, “He was just smoking that pregame smoke.” You know what that sounds like. “I ain’t paying attention to that.”

He laughed and said, “Dan Hurley, the greatest coach ever.”


The Razorbacks (25-8), are coming off a 82-64 victory over Texas A&M at the SEC tournament final. They were also No. They were also the No. 4 seed in the 1990 NCAA Tournament. In the title game, they lost to Duke, 97-74.

Eric Musselman will be making his fifth NCAA Tournament appearance, and the second time in three years that he has been at Arkansas. The Razorbacks reached the Elite Eight last year.

Vermont (28-5), made its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance, winning 82-43 against UMBC in American East’s title game. Coach John Becker was questioned about his preparation for the conference tournament.

Becker stated, “We put on the tape of Arkansas and it calibrated our guys pretty quickly.”