(AP) – Praising the team’s achievements has become a defense mechanism for Gonzaga’s coach, Mark Few.
It’s hard to blame him with all the complaints that Zags isn’t playing anyone and is in a weak conference.
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The resume should speak for itself. Gonzaga has competed in the national championship game twice in the past four years, made it to the sweet round of 16 10 times and annually plays one of the nation’s toughest fixtures, winning most those matches.
And one more: another #1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Gonzaga is ranked first, as the No. 1 seed for the second consecutive season in a group of 68 teams that debuted on Sunday. Zags opened with 16th seed Georgia State in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday in the Western Region including 2nd seed Duke in coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final NCAA Tournament, 3rd Texas Tech and 4th seed. Arkansas.
The West Zone ends in San Francisco.
“What an achievement for this team to go through a season like this and end up with another No. 1 seed,” Few said Tuesday after Zags won his eighth West Coast Conference championship. for nine years. “I know sometimes people just expect it, but it doesn’t magically happen. There is so much work to do, everyone is working for us. “
Gonzaga (26-3) has been the No. 1 seed for the past 4 seasons and will have one more if the pandemic is not canceled after the 2020 season. Zags was the No. 1 seed overall a year ago and was made it to the national title match, losing to Baylor.
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Gonzaga has the type of formation for another deep run.
Big Zags, their post is anchored by preseason American Drew Timme and freshman sensation Chet Holmgren. Senior Andrew Nembhard is often the best player on the court and leads a group of defenders who can shoot from the outside or blow past defenders by dribbling.
Gonzaga leads the nation in scores, is #1 in KenPom.com’s efficiency ratings, and wins games by an average of 22.5 points.
Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett, who is the fifth seed of the East region, said: “They can shoot, play ridiculous internals, defend well, are big and have great shooters. . “Their offense is as good as any in the country.”
Passed Georgia State and few could face one of his former assistants in the second round, Boise State coach Leon Rice. The eighth-seeded Broncos opened with the ninth-seeded Memphis.
The Tigers entered the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014, finally breaking through with one of Penny Hardaway’s highly touted recruiting classes. Memphis has a national No 1 place in 2021, but it takes a while to recuperate and recover from injury.
This breakthrough should take some of the pressure off Hardaway, who faced criticism earlier in the season while the Tigers were struggling.
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https://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2022/03/14/gonzaga-gets-second-straight-ncaa-no-1-overall-seed/ Gonzaga Wins Number One Overall Seed at NCAA for Second Time – CBS Pittsburgh