Selection Sunday is always full of surprises. After the first three brackets were released, Greg Gumbel said "tensions are building around here" and that is seemingly the way this day always goes. Lots of head shaking, even more finger pointing, and plenty of heartbreak. You can't classify Gonzaga's fortune today as heartbreak but you can say it was disappointing. The 8-9 game is what many look to avoid as you are typically taking two strong teams that were inconsistent and pitting them against eachother. This is why you have match ups like Texas-Wake, Cal-Louisville, and Gonzaga-FSU all residing on the 8-9 line. The second obvious caveat to being involved in this game is the fact that your next contest (if you are lucky enough to survive and advance) will be against a #1 seed. Gonzaga has this difficult, and exciting opportunity as they look to make a deep run in this season's NCAA Tournament.
I'm sure Max will come along tomorrow with a more detailed look at Florida State because, to be quite honest, I never see much of them. I know about Solomon Alabi, Michael Snaer, and a few other touted Seminoles. I know that their reputation is a strong, athletic, and defensive minded team. They're one of the best in the country defensively and really frustrate opposing teams into taking bad shots. But, like every other team not in the top 6-8, they are incredibly inconsistent. They've swept Wake Forest and Georgia Tech but then they've lost games they had no business losing. Overall, it's exactly the type of team I expected the Zags to play in the opening round, even though I didn't think they'd slide to an eight.
There's really no point anymore in looking back and complaining about the committee or how this team finished the season. I know it makes for good discussion and is a good way to grind an ax but the second season is almost upon us and I'm damn excited to get it going. The facts now indicate that Gonzaga will play Florida State on Friday. The Seminoles, while strong and very dangerous, are also very beatable. It's going to take all the same efforts we have seen in flashes through the year. There's no next year for Matt Bouldin to have his tournament success. There is really no more grace period for Demetri Goodson to have the "just a sophomore" excuse. There's also no reason why this bench should be looked upon as a guessing game regarding who is going to play well today.
Many things have to come together for this tournament to be viewed as a success. I can't harp on how much Elias Harris should be priority #1 in the gameplan. Against an outstanding defensive team like Florida State, you have such a small window to come out with fire before they can just wear you down. The good thing is that we all know that this team is capable of doing some very good things against anyone. They can also do awful things against anyone but...I'm one of those fans that happens to think the best version of Gonzaga is going to come to play every game no matter what and I expect nothing less in Buffalo.