I stood staring at the television throughout the whole game, getting really excited at a lot of points, and downright giddy at others. Gonzaga was on the verge of a second straight Elite Eight appearance, and you had to feel like the Bulldogs at least had a chance to hang with Virginia.
But I could feel it coming. It started slipping away in the final minutes, capped off by the worst stretch of basketball the team played in quite a while leading up to the NCAA Tournament. I couldn't even be angry. It all flew down the drain so fast that I watched in stunned silence, and I was crushed.
To be frank, I root for a lot of teams that disappoint more often than not (don't even get me started on that), so I am accustomed to a loss. But this one was different. It was simply gut-wrenching, because this was shaping up to finally be the year the Zags advanced to the Final Four.
I'd rather not recount the final minutes of that game. The miscues are burned in my memory. But I have a contention for the Zag faithful that undoubtedly feel the same way.
We are lucky to feel like our heart was ripped out of our chest that night after the Syracuse.
Why? Because who else gets to go to the NCAA Tournament 18 years in a row? What other mid-major program is so awesome that the coach desires to stay there and continue building every single year?
This offseason, Gonzaga is going to say goodbye to some great players. Hopefully at least one of Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis will decide to hang around. But the thing about next year is, Gonzaga is probably going to be pretty good again, with a completely different cast of characters.
Take some time this offseason to recover from the defeat. Then realize how great it is to be able to be so disappointed in yet another fantastic season.