Our KXLY4 Sports team is covering the tournament and will have the latest updates from Boise as the NCAA March Madness tournament kicks off.
GONZAGA - Williams 8-12 3-9 19, Tillie 1-6 0-0 2, Melson 2-5 0-1 4, Norvell 3-12 7-8 15, Perkins 7-14 0-0 16, Hachimura 1-6 2-4 4, Kispert 3-4 1-3 8, Jones 0-0 0-0 0. On the bottom half of the bracket, North Carolina and MI are the two clear favorites to make the Sweet 16. They have a nothing-to-lose attitude that can go a long way in March.
The Southern conference regular season and conference champions put up an impressive fight in a game that saw a number of ties down the stretch, thanks to Greensboro continuing to find ways to find space against the Zags. The Cowboys also lost an assistant coach in the Federal Bureau of Investigation scandal. When Anfernee McLemore, another sophomore forward, was lost for the year with a dislocated ankle in mid-February, that rotation got critically thin, putting the Tigers on level pegging with the undersized teams standing in their way. The Spartans are No. 6 in the country in scoring defense, but Gonzaga has the depth and experience to take advantage. However, as is the case with most Gonzaga teams, new players stepped in and gave fans in Spokane hope for the tournament. Arizona opens with Buffalo, which sits seventh in the nation with 84.8 points per game and will be eager to try its hand at a Pac-12 track meet. "J.P. (Macura) leaned back to me and said, 'Did he say we have a No. 1 seed?' It was a good feeling to be first in school history to be able to do so". Sean Miller's group may be hotter than any other team listed here, but being dropped into a region where defense and toughness are expected to reign was a less-than-ideal outcome.
Gonzaga owns just one win over a team in the top-25 of the RPI, and that win came against Ohio State.
LITTLE THINGS MATTER: The Zags learned a lot from their first trip to the Final Four past year. "These first-round games are hard".
Oklahoma State beat Kansas twice and had victories against Texas Tech and West Virginia. Zach Norvell is the X-factor, making key plays on offense that have reinvigorated the Zags when they seemed out of sorts.
Why is everyone so down on the Musketeers, which ESPN's Basketball Power Index rates as the third-weakest 1-seed in the past 10 years? The Bulldogs are on an 11-game win streak and have a path that's very reasonable to navigate to the Elite Eight.
The Spartans have won 16 of their past 18, with their two losses coming by a combined five points.