This is the most complete team in Mark Few's 18 seasons in Spokane, Wash., and a terrific offensive team that shoots almost 51 percent for the season. It's one thing to be healthy enough to play, but it's another to be at 100-percent. Now, it is closing on two decades. "And then, obviously, Przemek has won more games than anyone in NCAA history, so he's been around the block".
Now the Zags are in the Final Four, the culmination of a journey that started more than two decades ago.
South Carolina's Duane Notice shoots during a practice session for their NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game Friday, March 31, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.
Still, how is all this possible? And there is now a tradition - National Basketball Association players, NCAA appearances and winning, so much winning, 502-112 in Few's case.
Kelsey Plum had a historic season for Washington while Geno Auriemma did one of his best coaching jobs at UConn.
Martin said his worldwide team would have no problem with a traditional champion visit to the White House despite US President Donald Trump's recent immigration crackdown.
Gonzaga still had limited resources - players had blue warm-up jackets that they had to return at the end of the season - so Few took gradual steps, recruiting high-character players who fit into his system while making do with a shoestring budget.More news: Kansas Vs. Oregon Live Stream
The team has turned in much more consistent results in totals betting, though, with the under prevailing in seven of their past nine games while holding opponents to just 58.6 points per game. That experience paid off especially in the 61-58 win over West Virginia in the regional semifinals after Jordan Mathews hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with under a minute to play. "So we'll take that same approach, that same tournament approach, stay the course". (South Carolina ranks second.) That Zags defense, which has been suffocating, has held three of four tournament opponents under 60 points.
"I'm feeling pretty good", Berry said. This is always a point of emphasis for any team, but as we've already touched on, the Gamecocks are an opportunistic defense that thrives off on-ball pressure and steals. "We got the bulk, the strength, size of Karnowski, which allows us to not have to double-team". And then when you look at their four-man rotation of bigs, Pzemek (Karnowski) just guards the whole lane.
Sports' Nicole Auerbach thinks you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't keep an eye on these players in the Final Four. "We are facing a team that's really good inside". He still makes this list because he has averaged over 25 wins a season over the last decade. This, however, is Gonzaga with elite athletes, depth, defense and belief.
I think everybody's going to think that this is a matchup that pits UConn's offense against Mississippi State's defense. "I'm probably getting more than anyone, and I've got the hot hand". He took the Racers to two tournaments in three years before returning to Cincinnati a year after Bob Huggins was sacked.
Did Few ever expect all this in 1999? "And if you do that consistently, you're going to have success". "It has changed. I don't know". And we're expected to advance. "It wasn't necessarily to get back here and get back what we thought we won past year". You know? So back in those days we were innocent and footloose and fancy free.
This stage is the ultimate validation.