Arrow-right Camera
Go to e-Edition Sign up for newsletters Customer service
Subscribe now
Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Oddsmakers, prognosticators suggest third-seeded Gonzaga might sprout in tourney

March 15, 2023 Updated Wed., March 15, 2023 at 7:48 p.m.

Drew Timme speaks to the media shortly after Gonzaga was seeded third in the West Region.  (By Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review)
Drew Timme speaks to the media shortly after Gonzaga was seeded third in the West Region. (By Jesse Tinsley/The Spokesman-Review) Buy this photo

For a team supposedly under the radar entering the NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed, Gonzaga is still projected by many to make a deep run and remains among the betting favorites.

The Zags were picked by five of 12 ESPN analysts/anchors to reach the Final Four. Make that 5.5 since “Stanford” Steve Coughlin hasn’t decided between GU or sixth-seeded TCU as his pick to emerge from the West Region.

West No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 UCLA each received one Final Four nod while fourth-seeded Connecticut was picked four times. Five picked top overall seed Alabama as the national champion.

“I’ve said this all year, them not being undefeated, them not having a 1 next to their name, they don’t have anybody talking about them, they just beat the crap out of a good Saint Mary’s team in the West Coast (Tournament) final,” said ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, who projected Arizona to defeat Gonzaga in the final. “I think they’re unencumbered with all that talk. I like them getting there.”

The Zags have been a No. 1 seed in four of the past five tournaments. That doesn’t include the 2020 tournament, which was canceled in response to the COVID pandemic. Gonzaga was widely projected as a No. 1 seed.

Gonzaga went undefeated in 2021 before falling to Baylor in the championship game. The Zags finished 37-2 in 2017 after losing to North Carolina in the title game.

The Zags meet 14th-seeded Grand Canyon on Friday at Ball Arena in Denver. No. 3 seeds are 126-22 against 14s in the opening round since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

“At the end of the day, we’re still Gonzaga,” said forward Drew Timme, a freshman on the 2020 team and a sophomore in 2021. “No matter what number we have next to our name people are always going to want to put that pressure on us how we never win. We have to do what we have to do … so it’s kind of the same.”

Gonzaga was sixth at 14/1 in BetOnline’s national championship favorites after Selection Sunday. Baylor was the next-highest No. 3 seed at 20/1.

BetOnline’s latest odds have Gonzaga, Arizona and UConn tied for seventh with Houston and Alabama co-favorites.

UCLA, at 11/4, is favored to win the West Region, according to BetOnline. Gonzaga is 17/4.

GU is tied with UConn for seventh in BetMGM’s latest national championship odds. Houston is the favorite.

Gonzaga is seeded third for the first time since back-to-back seasons in 2005 and 2006. The Zags were 1-1 in 2005 and 2-1 in 2006, falling 73-71 to UCLA in the Sweet 16 in Oakland, California.

The Zags are 3-1 in Denver in two appearances (2011, 2016). The 11th-seeded Zags advanced to the 2016 Sweet 16 before losing to Syracuse 63-60 in Chicago.

“I think the pressure is actually a little less being a (No.) 3 and not a (No.) 1,” GU senior guard Rasir Bolton said. “We’re going to go into practice the same way as we did all season and hopefully run these games off.”

Seventeen No. 3 seeds have reached the Sweet 16 since the field expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Twelve reached the title game and four took home the championship – Connecticut (2011), Florida (2006), Syracuse (2003) and Michigan (1989).

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Follow along with the Zags

Subscribe to our Gonzaga Basketball newsletter to stay up with the latest news.