Seven years ago today we saw the last legit dream of a Gonzaga final four run die a sudden, gruesome, tearful death. Up by nine with three minutes remaining, the most dominant offensive player in college basketball leading our squad. You don’t need me to remind you what happened. But I bring it up today because, for me, it puts the importance of tonight’s game in historical perspective—i.e., we might well be waiting another seven years (if not more) before we have as juicy a chance at the Final Four as we do right now. Yesterday’s upsets emphasized just open for the taking our bracket is, and how crazily unpredictable it still threatens to be.
I don’t know whether it’s even worth bringing this up. Why not just focus on the game and enjoy it, as opposed to ladening it with unpleasant memories and historical baggage? I guess I want to bring up the 3.23 connection because I’m excited about the possibility of redemption. That 2006 loss in the Sweet 16 still stings because we haven’t gotten any closer to the championship since then. Mark Few can defend the Zags postseason record all he likes—and he’s correct, in the sense that we’ve never shat the bed a la Georgetown (5 straight losses to double-digit seeds!)—but we’ve been to the S16 twice in the last dozen years, for crying out loud! We haven’t made it to the Elite 8 in this millennium. I’m tired of waiting, and I’m tired of my basketball dreams being haunted by images of Batista and Raivio fumbling, of Morrison weeping on the floor. All I want to say is, let’s win tonight! And then let’s handle whatever double-digit-seeded ass-clowns come to Los Angeles on Holy Thursday, and see where we go from there.