This week’s issue of Sports Illustrated includes six regional covers featuring teams advancing to the Sweet 16 of the 2009 NCAA men’s basketball championship: Gonzaga, Jeremy Pargo; Michigan State, Kalin Lucas; North Carolina, Ty Lawson; Oklahoma, Blake Griffin; Pittsburgh, Levance Fields; and Syracuse, Jonny Flynn, are featured on the covers, with the billing Let’s Get It On.
Senior writer Tim Layden says of the 16 remaining teams:
“They all hope for two weeks more. Sixteen teams survived the first
weekend of the tournament, and now there is a fortnight left to finish sweet
redemption, to slip through a narrow window in time or to seize one last chance
after narrow misses and crippling disappointment in the past."
In another story “Mid-Major Heroes: Underdogs no more” by Kelli Anderson, the Zags are touted as the envy of every mid-major program in the country.
Anderson writes: “As March
Madness got under way in 1999, Gonzaga had never before won an NCAA tournament
game…. Over the next week and a half the players from the small Jesuit school
would dazzle the nation by knocking off seventh-seeded
Purdue coach Matt Painter, whose Boilermakers also advanced