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“At San Jose State it wasn’t a lot of fun losing those two years,” Clarke said. “I came here and it’s the exact opposite of that. It’s obviously the most fun I’ve had playing basketball. I’m just trying to soak up all these moments and live it up.”
Though they all seem to get lumped together as happy Cinderellas, there are subtle degrees of underdog baked into March Madness.
The All-America candidates in Mark Few’s frontcourt may be the headliners this week at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, but Gonzaga’s pod at the NCAA Tournament is flush with talent, from Baylor’s well-traveled senior floor general, Makai Mason, to Syracuse guard Tyus Battle, who returned for his junior season in part to see how deep he could take the Orange this March.
In a never-ending quest to match up the greatest players in Gonzaga basketball history – not to mention find ways to pass the time until the REAL games begin – we’ve come up with a new one: You have $15 to spend on five GU greats, ranked by position, and whose values range from $1 to $5.
Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura is one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy Player of the Year.
Learned and wise about college basketball as he is, Charles Barkley can’t cover everything, especially when it comes to all that’s complicating Gonzaga’s merge from the on-ramp to the fast lane of the NCAA Basketball Tournament this March. Good thing, then, that ol’ Doc Ball is here to answer your many questions and craft a primer to get you through this First Four chicane. So fire away.
Senior guard Geno Crandall watched the Selection Show with great interest to learn Gonzaga’s seeding and also see the draw for numerous friends. Crandall, a Minneapolis native, knows virtually all of the players on Minnesota’s roster. His former prep teammates at DeLaSalle High included 6-foot-8 forward Reid Travis, a graduate transfer at Kentucky, and 6-5 wing Sacar Anim, a redshirt junior at Marquette.
Killian Tillie’s health has been a key factor throughout Gonzaga’s 2019 season. Josh Perkins’ shoulder was a major question for months leading up to the season. Both should be ready to go when the top-seeded Gonzaga Zags (30-3) open the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at Vivant Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City.
Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura was named first-team All-America by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and Mark Few is a finalist for the USBWA’s Coach of the Year Award.
The final AP college basketball poll of the season mirrors the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 seed line. Gonzaga’s three-week stay at No. 1 in the media poll ended with a disappointing 60-47 loss to Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament title game last Tuesday. The Zags (30-3) slipped to fourth, one day after receiving the fourth No. 1 seed from the selection committee.
In one corner, the 2017 Zags. The 29-game winning streak to open the season. Top defensive team in the country. In the other corner, the 2019 Zags, with generational offensive numbers.