Jan. 03, 2017
Is Gonzaga Legit or Overrated?
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are the only remaining undefeated team in NCAA College Basketball with an impressive 28-0 record. They hold the number 1 overall ranking for the 4th consecutive week. Every game they have played this year has been absolutely superb. They are outscoring their opponent by a 23.7 point margin. That is the highest in college basketball. Gonzaga is top fifteen in offence and top ten in defense in the country. They also have some impressive wins in the resumes. They have beaten Arizona, Florida, Iowa State, and St. Mary’s twice.
It is almost no question that the Gonzaga Bulldogs are going to go undefeated heading into the 2017 NCAA March Madness Tournament and will grab a number 1 seed. If they head into the tournament undefeated, then they are destined to complete a perfect 39-0 season. They have such a good team that many believe they could do it. No team has accomplished that goal since 1976 when Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers went 32-0. Since then, history has been against undefeated through regular season play and conference tournament play. Over the last 41 years there have been 5 teams that went undefeated heading into the tournament, but all lost: 1979 Indiana State Sycamores, 1991 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels, 2004 St. Joseph’s Hawks, 2014 Wichita State Shockers, and 2015 Kentucky Wildcats. If Gonzaga were to go undefeated going into the March Madness tournament, the odds could be against their favors. Despite the recent undefeated collapses, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are definitely capable in completing a perfect season, right?
There is a whole other side to the Gonzaga Bulldogs that many Gonzaga fans will argue against. Many believe that Gonzaga is an overrated basketball programs and are going to collapse in the NCAA March Madness Tournament like they do every year. Many people are right. They are highly overrated. Yes they have a couple of good wins in their resume. Yes they have blown out many of their opponents throughout the entire year. The problem with the Gonzaga Bulldogs is they play in the West Coast Conference. The West Coast Conference is known to be a weak conference with a lack of competition for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The only other college in the West Coast Conference who will make it to the NCAA Tournament are the St. Mary’s Gales. St. Mary’s may have an impressive 24-3 record, but have the 141st toughest schedule in the country according to ESPN.com. St. Mary’s have no impressive wins to put on their resume. To put this all into perspective, St. Mary’s, the second best team in the West Coast Conference, isn’t that good of a team.
Other teams in the West Coast Conference are BYU, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Loyola Marymount, San Diego, Pepperdine, Pacific, and Portland. None of these teams even come close to compete with Gonzaga. It’s not because Gonzaga is good. It is the fact that many of these teams lack talent, and that is a problem for Gonzaga. Inside the West Coast Conference, they are not challenged enough to say they are an elite team. This is why they are blowing out their opponents. This is why they are currently 28-0.
Hypothetically, let’s put the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Pac 12. There are many teams in the Pac 12 who are capable to beat Gonzaga such as Arizona, Oregon, UCLA, California, and even USC. If they were to play in the Pac 12, they would have a couple of losses in their resume and would guarantee they would not even be in the top 10. How about the Big 12? That conference consists of seven possible tournament teams. Gonzaga would not even be in the top 25. They would be an average team who will probably be an 8 seed in the tournament.
The last time the Gonzaga Bulldogs had the number 1 seed in the NCAA March madness was in 2013. Right from the get-go, they had a very bumpy start. In the round of 64, they barely slid past the Southern Jaguars, a 16 seed, 64 to 58. In the round of 32, they lost to the Wichita State Shockers, a number 9 seed, 76 to 70. Since they made it to the tournament for the first time in 1995, Gonzaga has only 7 Sweet Sixteen appearances, 2 Elite Eight appearances, and 0 Final Four Appearances. It does seem like they have the capability to do more in the tournament, but they always run into teams who have so much more talent than them. That is Gonzaga hasn’t had a successful March Madness Tournament.
We all remember what happened to the 2014 Wichita State Shockers. They went undefeated and held a number one seed heading into the tournament and lost in the round of 32 to the Kentucky Wildcats. A major reason for that is because they were not tested enough. They weren’t prepare to play a team who did play more competitive basketball.
So how far will the Gonzaga Bulldogs go in the tournament. If anybody were to take a look at Gonzaga, they are a mirror image to the Wichita State Shockers. Gonzaga will advance to the round of 32 and get eliminated by the 8 or 9 seed. Gonzaga doesn’t have the potential to complete the perfect season. At best they will make it to the Sweet Sixteen.