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2019 NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga earns 1-seed in the West Region

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It’s dancing time. No. 1 Gonzaga will play either Fairleigh Dickson or Prairie View A&M in the first round on Thursday.

NCAA Basketball: Maui Invitational-Duke at Gonzaga Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A disappointing outcome in the WCC Championship game did not prevent the Gonzaga Bulldogs from securing a No. 1 seed in the West region of the 2019 NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs will face off against the winner between Fairleigh Dickinson (#208 in KenPom) and Prairie View A&M (#209) in Salt Lake City on Thursday, March 21. It is the 21st-consecutive NCAA Tournament for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

This is the third Gonzaga team to secure a spot on the top seed-line, joining the 2013 and 2017 teams who also achieved the honor. After the 2017 team broke through to the Final Four, the only thing left to do for the program is to win a national championship. With the nation’s top offense, a senior point guard with over 140 collegiate starts, and one of the premier frontcourt tandems in the country, Gonzaga is well-equipped to be the team cutting down the nets on April 8, 2019.

To get there, Gonzaga will have to navigate a challenging region that features a dangerous Michigan team at the opposite end in the 2-spot. The Zags will return to Salt Lake City, where they opened the 2017 NCAA Tournament with wins against the South Dakota State Mike Dauminators (official team name) and Northwestern—best remembered for that Zach Collins block...

This time around, assuming that Gonzaga avoids the same fate as last year’s Virginia team that lost to #16 UMBC, the second round features a potential matchup against either the Baylor Fighting Rem Bakamuses or Syracuse and its vexing zone defense that most recently got the best of Gonzaga in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. The Orange edged by the Zags 63-60 in the Sweet 16 played in Chicago (yours truly was in attendance for maximum heartbreak) thanks to a flurry of turnovers late in the game. If there’s ever a time for Gonzaga to shoot a million precent from the three-point line, it will be in that game.

Taking care of business in Salt Lake City would allow the Zags to head to Anaheim for the regional and a potential date with Ja Morant and Murray State or a rematch with Florida State following last year’s elimination to the Seminoles in the Sweet 16.

Here’s how the entire West region shakes out: