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Grip on Sports: It’s the matchups, not the seeding, that really matters to Gonzaga

Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis (11) and Syracuse's Tyler Roberson (21) battle for a loose ball during the second half of a college basketball game in the regional semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis (11) and Syracuse's Tyler Roberson (21) battle for a loose ball during the second half of a college basketball game in the regional semifinals of the 2016 NCAA Tournament in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

A GRIP ON SPORTS • Today’s the day we finally find out the answer to all of the important questions in the universe. Well, at least one of them. Is there life on other planets? Is 50 percent off really 50 percent off? Will Gonzaga be a one seed? Read on.


• The NCAA tournament selection show isn’t riveting TV anymore. The quest for the all-important dollar has sapped the life out of it and made it interminably long.

But if you have questions about your favorite team – with UC Irvine losing in the Big West finals last night, I’m all in with the NIT selection show – it is must-see-TV.

Luckily for Gonzaga fans, the answer to their nearly season-long question – will GU be on the top line? – should be answered within the first few minutes – and then engender about 15 minutes of debate.

See, no matter where Gonzaga falls, be it a No. 1 seed or a No. 2, there will be some on each side of the aisle ticked off. There are Zag supporters and Zag detractors in the national media, with Dick Vitale, the ancient voice of ESPN college hoops, in the former category since December.

Of course, now that Duke has entered the fray after its ACC tournament title run, Dickie V is probably going to be upset if the Blue Devils are a two and the Zags a one.

You know, the ACC and all that.

But whether or not the Zags are a top seed may not be as important as who is in their regional. After all, the ultimate goal here is to win a national title, right? To do that, the Bulldogs must win their regional for the first time. That’s what gets you to the Final Four.

And as Mark Few will tell you if you listen, the NCAA tournament is all about matchups. It’s about who you play and when you play them.

You can wonder all you want if Gonzaga can defeat Arizona a second time, what with Alonzo Trier back in the Wildcat lineup, but if those two schools are 1-2 in the West, there is no guarantee they’ll meet with the Final Four on the line.

What if Arizona has to play Wichita State in an early round again? Or Purdue? Or any other team that has the pieces to give the Wildcats fits?

The same can be said of the Zags. They have handled every challenge thrown their way this year – except one – and seem uniquely suited to adjust their game for the tournament ones. After all, they have shown an ability to defeat good schools on neutral courts (did you see where Iowa State won the Big 12 tournament title and Arizona the Pac-12?), a must over the next four weeks.

So don’t despair if the Zags are a No. 2. Instead, look at the games they may face. It’s the SMUs and the Virginias of the world that might be their biggest challenge. And it won’t matter if GU is wearing blue or white.


Gonzaga: Jim Meehan begins your Selection Sunday with a look at Gonzaga’s case for the No. 1 seed. … And John Blanchette continues it with his feelings about the changes in how the committee makes picks. … Saint Mary’s shouldn’t spend another selection show on the outside looking in. … BYU is in. In the NIT.

WSU: Don’t look now, but the Cougar baseball team is on a six-game winning streak. … Oregon suffered a huge blow before the Pac-12 title game last night, losing center Chris Boucher to a knee injury. But the Ducks almost fought through it, as Arizona pulled out an 83-80 victory in Las Vegas. Now the Ducks and Wildcats await their NCAA fate. … The L.A. Times has a story on the new life Ryan Leaf is leading. … There is a risk showing off your abilities to NFL scouts, as a Washington cornerback discovered.

EWU: Montana State won the Big Sky women’s title yesterday and did it with the help of two Spokane players. Jim Allen has a feature on the duo that lifted the Bobcats to the heights. … North Dakota rallied to take the Big Sky title from Weber State and earn its first NCAA tournament berth at the Division I level.

CCS: The women moved in the NWAC Elite 8 with a win Saturday.

Preps: There are a lot of former Spokane-area women’s basketball players earning college honors around the nation.

Chiefs: Spokane fell behind early, rallied but lost 4-3 to Prince George. Josh Horton has the game story.

Mariners: A late rally helped the M’s get past the Reds, 7-6, and keep their winning streak alive. … Hey, another Mike Zunino story. … A relief prospect had to leave Saturday’s game.

Seahawks: With the signing of Luke Joeckel official and other moves seemingly upcoming, it’s obvious the Hawks are trying to improve their running game. Will it be through free agents or will they find more help in the draft?

Sounders: The defending MLS champions lost their opener on the road. Then they trailed on the road again in their second match. But Seattle rallied from a 2-0 second-half deficit to earn a draw and the point that comes with it.


• So what’s your guess? Is Gonzaga a one seed or a two seed? Until later …

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