NCAA Tournament: 5 Reasons the Love Affair with Gonzaga Should End Now
Everyone seemed to fall in love with the Gonzaga Bulldogs this college basketball season. With an undefeated conference record and a possible National Player of the Year candidate, how could they not?
This year the love for Gonzaga was at an all-time high as they were given the No. 1 ranking in the polls and a one seed in the national tournament. Millions believed they could win.
After this weekend a tougher Wichita State team left those millions ripping their brackets apart as they prevented Gonzaga from getting out of the opening weekend yet again.
So save your brackets the trouble and see why you should never, ever pick Gonzaga in the month of March again.
5. What Conference Are They In?
If you could tell me the Gonzaga Bulldogs played in the West Coast Conference before reading this, then congratulations are in order.
The Bulldogs play the likes of Portland, University of San Francisco, Pepperdine, BYU and Saint Mary's. Only one team other than Gonzaga made the field of 68 this March (Saint Mary's) and only one school from the conference has ever won a national championship (San Francisco) and that was in 1955 and 1956.
So although they beat up on the smaller, less prominent WCC members, don't let their undefeated conference record get you overjoyed. Unless you had Bill Russell in the early '50s, this conference has produced very little.
Gonzaga has made a home in the AP Top 25 polls since they began their run in 1999. In that span they have had players like Adam Morrison and more recently Kelly Olynyk. Both players have won the conference Player of the Year, but they haven't fared well when it comes to the Big Dance.
I understand that Gonzaga is a smaller school and will lose out on prospects on the West Coast to teams like UCLA and Oregon, but they need to make a better effort. Right now only one offer has been given to an ESPN Top 100 player.
Gonzaga has been running with the same recruiting idea for a while now and it doesn't look like it's going to change. That means their chances at making a deep run in the tournament aren't going to change, either.
3. Too Much Creepy Hair
Hear me out on this one.
Only one NBA star has long hair: Joakim Noah. And even he keeps it pulled back. Nobody respects the guy on the court with the extremely long, free-flowing hair. That's the type of cut that has your dad rooting for the other team when he goes to your games.
Both Olynyk and Morrison epitomize awful haircuts. Morrison never pulled his back, and was left crying in the middle of the court to end his collegiate career. Maybe Olynyk should change up the hairdo in order for him and his team to be taken more seriously.
Don't forget, Adam Morrison did not cut his hair for two years and rode the bench toward an NBA championship ring with the Lakers. Just saying.
2. Susceptible to the Upset
Gonzaga has made it to the group of 68 (then 64) every year since 1999. In that time they have made it past the Sweet 16 only once in five tries.
Including this year they have been given a four seed or higher five times. They have made it out of the opening weekend only twice of those five chances. The teams they beat those two Sweet 16 runs? Xavier, Indiana, Akron and Western Kentucky.
To keep a long, stat-filled story short: If Gonzaga is the favorite in the postseason, it's your best bet is to cross them out of your bracket.
1. They Really Haven't Proven Anything
Gonzaga is thought of as a team that can compete with the big boys of collegiate basketball, kind of like TCU and Boise State in college football.
Here's the difference: Both Boise State and TCU have beaten teams like Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Georgia. When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, Gonzaga has yet to pull an upset or beat a powerhouse since the Morrison era.
Instead, compare the Bulldogs to the 2007 Hawaii team that finished 12-0 but was smacked in the Sugar Bowl by Georgia. In a three-year span from 2009 to 2011, the Zags were erased from the brackets by an average of 21.8 points per loss, losing to North Carolina, Syracuse and Jimmer Fredette's BYU Cougars.