The NCAA men’s basketball top 25 has Gonzaga University ranked number one. The small Jesuit school located in Spokane, Washington, has a reputation for two reasons. “Bing Crosby” went to school there, and nobody really wants to play them during “March Madness”.
Indiana fell to number two. Of course the expected has happened. Because they play in the West Coast Conference, instead of the Big Ten, the ACC, or the SEC, they have doubters. But one statistic pointed out on a morning sports show seems to give them more credibility. Against opponents in the top 100, their record is 12-2. Indiana’s is 10-4.
No one can doubt the Bulldogs have the best “big man” in the game, Kelly Olynyk. The young Canadian is a 7 footer who averages over 18 points a game and 7 rebounds.
What makes Gonzaga such a basketball force? Simply put, it’s a school known for playing great basketball. Applications are high in number. This season they have players from the United States, Germany, and of course, Olynyk from Canada.
Spokane is a city of only 200,000 people near the borders of Canada and Idaho. It’s a blue collar town unlike Seattle with its high-tech wealth.
At the time of Gonzaga’s run to the final eight, 14 years ago, the school had fewer than 5,000 students and was struggling with enrollment and budget issues.
Today, enrollment is at 7,800 and new buildings are popping up on campus all the time. The 6,000-seat McCarthey Athletic Center, which opened in 2004, has been sold out for all but one game. The Zags have rewarded their fans with a 120-8 home record there.
Let’s see if they can stay No. 1 for two more weeks and receive a bracket top seed.
Columnist-The Guardian Express