Gonzaga men's basketball team returns home after histori
- Author: Julie Sanders Mar 27, 2017,
Mar 27, 2017, 1:18
So, would he go there now? Eighteen seasons later, Gonzaga was finally able to take the next step as a program now that the shoe was on the other foot and they were the 1-seed stocked with National Basketball Association prospects up and down their roster.
Few's 2016-17 team has officially reached the summit that no team before it could scale.
Though pleased with having made the Final Four, Mathews rejected the notion that finally reaching this peak puts Gonzaga on the map.
Williams called it "just a insane feeling to be able to go to the Final Four".
The road was a rough one for Gonzaga during some years. The Zags take on the Musketeers tomorrow at 3:09 on TBS.
That was the kind of day it was for the Musketeers, whose memorable March run to the third Elite Eight in school history ended with a lopsided 83-59 loss to No. 1 seed Gonzaga on Saturday in the West Regional final. They were bigger, faster, and more skilled than the Xavier big men, and the only way the Musketeers could hang with them was to pack the paint and dare the Bulldogs to beat them from long range. The idea of being the first team to run the regular season and then win the championship was something a lot of us bought into.
Now, in the Elite 8 with a match up with the Oregon Ducks set, it's time for Frank Mason III and Josh Jackson to show why they are two of the most highly sought after prospects in this years upcoming NBA Draft. There will be stories about big man Przemek Karnowski, about how the Bulldogs don't look like your standard mid-major due to their power conference transfers, and about how the weight of the world is off head coach Mark Few's shoulders.
In terms of success on the recruiting trail, nothing is more important than advancing in the tournament.
In the Final Four, Bell will bring an energy and enthusiasm that his opponents will have to match. The Gamecocks made it into the tournament this year for the first time since 2004.
"Now that we've delivered on it, I mean, it's just a total, total feeling of elation and happiness for these guys", Few said.
The unique thing about this particular Gonzaga team is that it wasn't built like any of Few's teams before it. When Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 14:38 left in the half, the Ducks led 55-37. The leading scorer for the Zags is junior Nigel Williams-Goss, who is only averaging 16.5 points per game.
"This is what we wanted to do", Few said moments after locking down his first trip to the national semifinals.
"Basically, we've had about five or seven minutes of not very good basketball", he said, referring to a 79-71 lost last month.
After Zak Showalter's incredible shot for Wisconsin, Florida's Chris Chiozza came up with an even wilder one to send the Gators into the Elite Eight. Somebody was always open.
The first half was largely controlled by the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but it was the Xavier Musketeers that registered by far the strangest/most unbelievable basket of the entire tournament.
"It's not fair in January", Few said.
Of course, the tournament did not end Saturday. North Carolina and Kentucky meet for a spot on Sunday.
This marks Gonzaga's first Final Four appearance in school history.