If Zags’ followers had flashbacks when the West Regional bracket was announced on Selection Sunday, they’ve probably intensified after the first weekend of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
Florida State will be without senior forward Phil Cofer, who didn’t play in FSU’s opening-round win over Vermont because of a foot injury and then learned devastating news in the locker room that his father, Mike, had passed away.
Gonzaga’s Sweet 16 rematch with Florida State will tip at 4:09 PT Thursday at the Honda Center in Anaheim.
With the first weekend of the tournament now over, fewer than five percent of college basketball’s teams 353 teams are still playing. Kansas and Kansas State, both No. 4 seeds this year, aren’t. It’s hard to win two games in the NCAA Tournament, regardless of your seed number. Yet Gonzaga, with its victories in Salt Lake City over Fairleigh Dickinson and Baylor this past weekend, has done it five years in a row.
Take a wild guess which Zag had the honor of putting a Gonzaga sticker on the Sweet 16 line of an oversized NCAA Tournament bracket inside the locker room. “Don’t put it on there crooked,” one teammate instructed. “Take your time big fella,” another coached. Brandon Clarke, as he did during the previous two hours with his monster effort in Gonzaga’s 83-71 win Saturday over Baylor, nailed the finish, inserting Gonzaga’s name in place and patting it a few times to make sure it wasn’t going anywhere.
All those “watch lists” for college basketball’s many awards that managed to miss on Brandon Clarke altogether this year, or scramble to include him at midseason, or leave him off the final cut? Well, Gonzaga’s vicar of vertical wrote his own on Saturday afternoon. The “Watch Me” list.
On a night when even Corey Kispert may have refuted the idea that his contributions outweighed those of teammate Brandon Clarke, longtime GU coach Mark Few was adamant that his sophomore forward was the Most Valuable Zag against the Bears.
From Gonzaga’s first Associated Press All-American to first round draft pick to broadcaster, Dan Dickau has seen all levels of the basketball world.
Brandon Clarke is a relative newcomer to these high-pressure NCAA Tournament games in front of packed arenas on national television. The junior forward seems to be a fast learner; it took him all of two games to put his name in Gonzaga’s record book and join select company in NCAA Tournament annals.
It was a French treat, served up to Killian Tillie and Joel Ayayi on a silver platter moments after Gonzaga finished off Baylor 83-71 in the NCAA Tournament.
Key moment, offensive MVP and defensive MVP from Gonzaga’s 83-71 victory over Baylor in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Brandon Clarke broke Adam Morrison’s school record for points in an NCAA Tournament game. He also became just the third player in tourney history with 35 points and five blocks in a game, joining Shaquille O’Neal and David Robinson.