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Gonzaga waits – with everyone else – for its seed in the Big Dance

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, shown here in the Zags 88-52 win over San Diego in January, has to wait until Sunday like everyone else to find out the Bulldogs’ seed in the NCAA tournament. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, shown here in the Zags 88-52 win over San Diego in January, has to wait until Sunday like everyone else to find out the Bulldogs’ seed in the NCAA tournament. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

You don’t know, I don’t know, a growing number of bracketologists don’t know.

After days of deliberation in Indianapolis, the 10 members of the Selection Committee are the ones in the know about the field of 68, the First Four, the No. 1 seeds, the No. 16 seeds and every seed in between.

The committee shows its work on Sunday afternoon with the unveiling of the NCAA tournament bracket. After an obligatory hour or so of grousing over two or three teams that didn’t make the cut, some 40 million fans and casual observers will begin putting pencil to bracket and map out their picks.

And Gonzaga, which has been part of the madness for a remarkable 18 straight seasons, will learn its seeding and first-round assignment.

Until then, here’s a sampling of the guesswork. ESPN.com listed Gonzaga as a No. 10 seed against No. 7 Wisconsin in Spokane. CBSsports.com projected Gonzaga as an 11 seed against No. 6 Notre Dame in Des Moines, Iowa. Gonzaga is an 11 seed against Baylor in SI.com’s bracket. NBCsports.com has No. 11 Gonzaga against No. 6 Iowa in Providence, Rhode Island.

According to bracketmatrix.com, Gonzaga’s average seed is 10.04 in 97 projected brackets, including Haslametrics, which lists the Zags as a six. Bracket project has No. 9 Gonzaga versus No. 8 USC in Brooklyn.

Less of a guessing game is how the Zags’ streak endured numerous challenges, from Przemek Karnowski’s season-ending back injury to a string of close losses against quality opponents. An up-and-down season found Gonzaga playing its best basketball when it mattered most, clinching an automatic bid with an impressive run through the WCC tournament.

“From the beginning of the year, all our bigs demanding so much attention and so much notoriety that they deserved, people saying our guards weren’t good enough,” senior guard Eric McClellan said after GU defeated Saint Mary’s in the WCC championship game. “That (Saint Mary’s) game at our place, we played horrible. We lost by three but it felt like we lost by 20. The last month we’ve been playing really efficient basketball, being aggressive and paying attention to our scouting report. Just taking care of the process every day.”

In roughly two weeks, the Zags have gone from the bubble to a team capable of making some noise in the tournament.

“We’re playing great as a unit,” senior forward Kyle Wiltjer said. “Obviously me and Domas (Sabonis) down draw a lot of attention. The guards have been doing an incredible job of playing with confidence and shooting open shots. I think that’s really opened up the game for the whole team.

“Anything can happen. When we have that approach where we try to take it game by game that’s when it’s really scary for teams because we can compete with anyone.”

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