Good thing this is a business trip.
The most talked-about NCAA Tournament destinations for the Gonzaga women aren’t exactly spring break hot spots.
There’s College Station, home of Texas A&M University and the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.
How about Ames? It’s home to the Iowa State Cyclones and only 20 minutes from the bright lights of Des Moines.
And don’t forget Corvallis, where four years ago the Zags pulled off one of the biggest tournament upsets in school history against Oregon State.
With the dawn of Selection Monday, those appear to be the likeliest destinations for the Zags, who long ago punched their ticket to the dance. But on whose floor?
The final word belongs to the selection committee, which will reveal the bracket on Monday at 4 p.m. on ESPN. The Zags will gather on campus to learn their fate.
With a 28-4 record and No. 14 ranking in the Rating Percentage Index, GU appears to be settling in as a five seed.
That’s where ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme put the Zags more than two weeks ago, and he hasn’t budged from that position, though last week he flipped their destination from College Station to Ames.
Last year, Crème was spot-on as he had the Zags playing at Stanford. However, he picked GU for a 12 seed and they received a 13.
The big uncertainty is whether the selection committee will penalize GU for the apparent loss of starting point guard Laura Stockton and versatile reserve Jill Townsend.
Both suffered what appeared to be serious injuries during the 78-77 double-overtime win over Saint Mary’s on Monday in the West Coast Conference tournament.
Gonzaga has issued no official word on the players’ availability for the tournament, though Stockton wore a leg brace and Townsend a leg cast Tuesday during the Zags’ 82-68 loss to BYU in the WCC title game.
Others have noticed.
Technically, Crème has GU as a six seed. He ranks the Zags the 21st-best team in the land and has Kentucky as 19th However, Creme gives GU a “procedural bump” to a five seed (and Kentucky down to a six) presumably because of geography and other considerations.
Meanwhile, College Sports Madness assigns the Zags a five seed and ships them to Milwaukee to play Ivy League champ Penn in a foursome hosted by Marquette.
Dropping a seed doesn’t sound like a big deal, but means tougher opponents in the first round.
One prognosticator, highposthoops.com, already has put GU on the six line. Highposthoops has GU playing 11th-seeded Tennessee in a foursome hosted by Miami.
South Florida in March – now there’s a tourist destination, especially with snow still on the ground in Spokane.
But it will cost you: As of Sunday it was $858 round-trip from Spokane to Miami on United for a departure on Thursday and return on March 25.
Houston is only $639, but you’ll certainly need a rental car for the 90-mile drive to College Station. Ames is cheaper yet: $502 round-trip to Des Moines, plus a car.
For the budget-wise, Corvallis is the best option: Just jump in the car and drive eight hours.
On the other hand, Oregon State was among the top 10 teams in the nation until an upset loss to Washington in the Pac-12 tournament.
That makes them dangerous, and they probably haven’t forgotten the loss to Gonzaga back in 2015.
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