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No. 14 Gonzaga women could be here or there come NCAA Tournament time

UPDATED: Mon., March 4, 2019, 9:23 p.m.

Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier and her 14th-ranked Bulldogs need to win the West Coast Conference Tournament to improve their chances of playing an NCAA Tournament first-round game in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Lisa Fortier and her 14th-ranked Bulldogs need to win the West Coast Conference Tournament to improve their chances of playing an NCAA Tournament first-round game in Spokane. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Will they stay or will they go?

Gonzaga women’s basketball fans will be asking that question for two more weeks, even if the Zags manage to win another West Coast Conference Tournament title.

With two weeks to go, they sit uneasily on an ever-shifting bubble – a fact underscored Monday night with the latest NCAA reveal.

In the second and final reveal before Selection Monday on March 18, the Zags were nowhere to be found in the top 16. They were leapfrogged by Texas A&M – an upset winner over 11th-ranked Kentucky – and Syracuse, which won at No. 22 Florida State

The other team to fall out was Marquette, which means that all 16 teams except for UConn hail from Power-5 conferences.

The stakes are high: the top 16 teams on Selection Day will host first- and second-round NCAA games; everyone else must travel.

However, there’s plenty of basketball to be played. At 27-3 overall and 13th in the Rating Percentage Index, or RPI, the Zags still have a solid chance of landing a 4 seed or better and playing again in Spokane.

For that to happen, GU will need to win twice in next week’s WCC tournament and hope the right teams lose in their respective conference tournaments.

Those teams include current No. 3 seeds North Carolina State, Maryland, Oregon State and South Carolina; and, more likely, current 4 seeds Miami, Iowa State, Syracuse and Texas A&M.

The rise of the Aggies was predicted earlier by ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme, who dropped GU to the 5 line despite the Zags sweeping home games against Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.

Why?

The short answer, and the only one Creme gave The Spokesman-Review via Twitter, was “A&M passed Gonzaga.”

The news wasn’t all bad for GU fans. The Zags moved up two spots, to 14th, in the Associated Press poll.

At RealTimeRPI.com, the Zags are the No. 4 seed in the Portland Regional, hosting No. 13 Florida Gulf Coast in a foursome that also includes No. 5 Kentucky and No. 12 Miami of Ohio.

That raises another question: Would the NCAA really ship three teams to Spokane from the Eastern time zone?

At College Sports Madness, bracketologists sent the Zags to Milwaukee as a No. 5 seed to face Ivy League champ Penn. The group also includes host and No. 4 seed Marquette facing No. 13 Green Bay.

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