The Gonzaga Bulldogs were awarded a No. 4 seed in the West region of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs earned a near home game in Boise against No. 13 UNC Greensboro (27-7) on Thursday, March 15. The Spartans are the Champions of the Southern Conference, and opened their season with a scrappy 60-48 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers, the number one overall seed. They also beat NC State, another tournament team, in the Wolfpack’s building back in December.
This will be the 20th-consecutive NCAA Tournament for the Gonzaga Bulldogs, and the second time the Zags have been awarded a No. 4 seed in the Tournament. Gonzaga’s only other appearance as a No. 4 was in 2009 when it reached the Sweet 16 before falling to Tyler Hansbrough’s North Carolina squad that went on to win the National Championship.
Gonzaga and North Carolina (No. 2) are grouped in the same region once again, and the two teams that played in last year’s National Championship are joined by No. 1 Xavier and No. 3 Michigan as the region’s top four seeds. Xavier is the fourth 1-seed, making it the supposed weakest team on the top line, and could also give Gonzaga another rematch after it dispatched the Musketeers in the Elite 8 of last year’s tournament.
Should Gonzaga knock off UNC Greensboro, it could get a rematch against the Ohio State Buckeyes in the second round. As you may recall, the Zags throttled the Buckeyes 86-59 back in the PK80 Invitational in November, but those Buckeyes have made tremendous strides since then.
At 30-4 going into the Tournament, Gonzaga has already achieved its fourth 30-win campaign in the last 6 seasons. The Zags will look to double up on Final Four appearances after the program’s first last year, when it was just a few plays (and fouls) away from cutting down the nets in Glendale.
But the past is the past. The season-long objective for this group has been to write their own story. After a lengthy layoff following a blowout win over the BYU Cougars in the WCC Championship, the Zags will look to carry their surging form against a tough region and write their ideal ending.
Should the Zags advance from the opening weekend, they’ll travel to Los Angeles for the regional games. Here’s how the rest of the West shakes out:
(1) Xavier v. (16) North Carolina Central
(8) Missouri v (9) Florida St
(5) Ohio St v (12) South Dakota St
(4 Gonzaga v (13) UNC Greensboro
(6) Houston v (11) San Diego St
(3) Michigan v. (14) Montana
(7) Texas A&M v. (10) Providence
(2) North Carolina v (15) Lipscomb
You can see the full bracket here.