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Sports >  NCAA basketball

For Gonzaga and Washington State women, possible NCAA destinations are just a guessing game

March 12, 2022 Updated Sat., March 12, 2022 at 10:50 p.m.

Gonzaga guard Kaylynne Truong (14) heads to the basket as Washington State center Bella Murekatete (55) defends during their game in December at McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Kaylynne Truong (14) heads to the basket as Washington State center Bella Murekatete (55) defends during their game in December at McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)

The possibilities are all over the map for fans who are considering following the Gonzaga or Washington State women to the NCAA Tournament.

The Zags and Cougars could end up anywhere from Tennessee to Michigan to Louisiana, though history suggests they’ll probably play a first-round game in Iowa.

That’s because the NCAA tries to send teams to the closest destination, if practical.

But where in Iowa? That, too, is up for grabs.

It really is that complicated. According to ESPN bracketologist Charlie Crème, the Zags will be a No. 11 seed on Selection Sunday, which means they’ll face a No. 6 seed at the home of a No. 3 seed. For the past three days, Crème has maintained that the Zags will take on North Carolina in a foursome hosted by Michigan.

It’s the same for Washington State. Crème pegs them as a No. 11 seed and playing Ole Miss at Iowa.

Iowa State – currently a No. 2 seed – also could drop to a No. 3 seed after losing in the Big 12 tournament to another projected No. 3 seed.

The bracket unveiling begins at 5 p.m.

Adding more variables , Gonzaga could move down to a No. 12 seed, partly because midmajor conferences such as the West Coast don’t get much respect.

The experts at WomensSports.com did just that, putting the Zags at a No. 12 seed but moving WSU up to a No. 10 partly because of their tougher schedule.

Last week, after her team won the WCC Tournament, GU coach Lisa Fortier addressed that issue.

“We have a lot of good teams in this conference,” she said.

Bottom line: Given the myriad possibilities for their seeds and those of potential hosts, there’s no way to predict where the Cougars and Zags will play.

If the Cougars rise to a No. 10 seed, they could be sent all the way to UConn. That’s not a bad option for fans on a tight budget. Round trips to New York are about $500, though it’s another three hours to Storrs. Another option would be a flight to Boston, followed by a short bus ride.

The Michigan scenario – a possibility for either team – also is a good one for fans. As of Friday, round-trip flights to Detroit (50 miles east of Ann Arbor) are running $565.

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