WCC: Underrated, Underseeded Or Both?

Mike HendersonCorrespondent IIMarch 20, 2010

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 19:  Elias Harris #20 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs handles the ball against Solomon Alabi #32 of the Florida State Seminoles during the first round of the 2010 NCAA men's basketball tournament at HSBC Arena on March 19, 2010 in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

Okay, can we now stop with the Gonzaga/WCC slights.

I have to admit I am a Zags fan. Don't quite know how it happened, but it did. And I'm really tired of hearing how they "slumped" down the stretch and got "hammered" by St. Mary's in the WCC final.

Yes, they did get hammered by the Gaels. Did they score 11 points in either half? Yes, they had a terrible slump at the end of the season, losing 3 of their last 21 games.

So tell me, how does a team shoot better than anyone has against FSU in two years when it is reeling so badly.

Now, as a live witness to the game, the Zags were great for 30 minutes and fortunate for the last ten. But they played smart and Matt Bouldin, who really was getting manhandled, came through as their leader. They played against a big, strong defensive team and won because they played big, strong and battled for every minute.

For some reason many have pointed to the relatively low seed for their collapse at the end of the season. Hmmm. St. Mary's, how are they doing now? Richmond, a solid team and 2-seed Villanova are thinking that if they never see another Samhan again it'll be soon enough.

Truth is, the WCC enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence this season. The Portland Pilots had a great start and were poised to challenge for the league crown until Nik Raivio was hurt. St. Mary's, who were beaten twice by Gonzaga this season, have lost 5 games. Though their schedule didn't include the type of foes the Zags faced they still won games.

And, to boot, Loyola-Marymount won at Notre Dame this season, and the Irish made the Dance.

So please, stop knocking the Zags loss to the Gaels and stop knocking the conference. There are two very, very good teams this season and a couple of others that are knocking at the door. In a year where everything seems up in the air, these teams can compete with anyone.