UW Huskies Insider

Tag: Gonzaga

March
22nd

NCAA tournament at KeyArena: Gonzaga advances to Sweet 16 for first time since 2009 with dominant 87-68 win over Iowa

Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer, right, embraces Kevin Pangos after the team beat Iowa in an NCAA tournament college basketball game in the Round of 32 in Seattle, Sunday, March 22, 2015. Gonzaga won 87-68. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Gonzaga’s Kyle Wiltjer, right, embraces Kevin Pangos after the team beat Iowa in an NCAA tournament college basketball game in the Round of 32 in Seattle, Sunday, March 22, 2015. Gonzaga won 87-68. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE – Disappointment visited the Gonzaga Bulldogs in each of the past five seasons, each endeavor hopeful until the NCAA tournament’s first weekend.

That’s where Gonzaga lost, five years running, nary a Sweet 16 to show for a half-decade span that otherwise featured noteworthy performance.

Byron Wesley played in exactly zero of those games. Yet he had no choice but to embrace the sting.

“That’s pretty much the talk around town, is that Gonzaga, they always win their league, they always win the league championship, but in the tournament, they always fold and lose early,” said Wesley, a Gonzaga senior guard who transferred after playing his first three seasons for USC. “So I think it’s definitely frustrating when you hear that so much, and people always talk about how they just can’t get to that next level.”

They will not be saying it on Monday morning. Not here. Not in Spokane. And certainly not in Iowa City, where the Iowa Hawkeyes must now return after Gonzaga buried them on Sunday afternoon beneath an insurmountable pile of 3-point jumpers and easy interior buckets, the Bulldogs racing to a thoroughly dominant 87-68 victory before a sellout crowd of 14,901 at KeyArena that amounted to equal parts excitement and catharsis.

It’s now on to Houston, where 2nd-seeded Gonzaga (34-2) will face a familiar opponent – 11th-seeded UCLA, which GU defeated by 13 points, in Los Angeles, on Dec. 13 – in its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2009. Read more »

March
20th

Seeded No. 2, Gonzaga tries again to advance past first weekend of NCAA tournament

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few motions during practice for an NCAA college basketball tournament second round game in Seattle, Thursday, March 19, 2015. Gonzaga plays North Dakota State on Friday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few motions during practice for an NCAA college basketball tournament second round game in Seattle, Thursday, March 19, 2015. Gonzaga plays North Dakota State on Friday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

— It is difficult to examine this Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team, seeded No. 2 in the South region of the NCAA tournament and slated for a 6:50 p.m. opening-round tipoff on Friday against 15th-seed North Dakota State, and not wonder how closely their fortunes resemble the Gonzaga squad that tore through the West Coast Conference two seasons ago.

That team, like this one, had just two losses entering the NCAA tourney. They each ran away with the WCC regular-season championship (with a 17-1 record this year, and a 16-0 mark two years ago), won the WCC tournament championship, lost once at home, and lost once on the road, in a close game, to a quality opponent (13th-ranked Butler in 2012-13, 3rd-ranked Arizona this season).

The two-years-ago Bulldogs ranked No. 1 in both major polls coming into the tourney. This year’s team, currently ranked 7th, spent almost all of the season in the top 10 and peaked at No. 2 in early February.

But there is a looming, ever-important distinction this year’s team would rather not share with the highly successful crew of 2012-13.

When March arrived, those Bulldogs lost in the round of 32. Just like they did last year. And just like they did in the three seasons prior to their ascension to No. 1.

So Friday’s matchup at KeyArena against NDSU, champions of the Summit League, is likely not what most riles the nerves of Gonzaga supporters. It’s that second-round game — third round, technically, for the heretics who prefer official NCAA parlance — that has most troubled coach Mark Few and the perennial WCC frontrunners.

“I think there’s definite similarities, just with the way the season’s gone, and the guys on the team are really deep, like we were that year,” said senior point guard Kevin Pangos, who was a sophomore the last time Gonzaga began the NCAA tournament as a highly-seeded favorite. “The difference, I think, is that we’ve been through it once. There’s about three, four, five of us that have been through it before, so I think that can only benefit us. That’s why I’m looking forward to this year, going into it.” Read more »

Aug.
4th

Washington will resume Gonzaga basketball series in 2016-17

Washington and Gonzaga will once again play each other on the basketball court.

The UW officially announced the long-anticipated return of the rivalry series, beginning in the 2016-17 season and spanning four years. The games will be played on-campus in Seattle and Spokane, though it has not yet been determined where the series will begin.

UW and Gonzaga haven’t met since Dec. 9, 2006. The Huskies and Bulldogs played each other every season from 1997-98 through 2006-07. Read more »