Could Gonzaga miss this year’s NCAA tournament?
That possibility emerged a couple weeks ago. But at that time, the Zags held a spot in the play-in games in our bracket with plenty of basketball to play, including two games against league leader Saint Mary’s. Win at least one of those games with their strong NET ranking and Gonzaga would be a good bet to make the dance.
But after a home loss to Saint Mary’s on Saturday, things look bleak. Despite maintaining a strong NET ranking (27), the Zags have a résumé with no high-quality wins on their slate. Their best win so far is a home win against conference foe San Francisco, who currently sits at No. 65 in the NET. Gonzaga has no Q1 wins and only three in Q2 with no quality conference games on their schedule until early March.
But there still are two paths to make it to the NCAA tournament for Gonzaga.
The first is to just win the conference tournament and get the WCC automatic bid. It is certainly doable, and simply winning a potential third matchup against Saint Mary’s is all it would take.
As unlikely as it seems, given the weakness of the WCC, there still is a path for Gonzaga to receive an at-large bid without winning their conference tourney. That path comes with thanks to some clever scheduling by head coach Mark Few. On Saturday, Feb. 10, Gonzaga will travel to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats in a big game for both teams. We rarely see this type of scheduling in the middle of conference play, but it may be just what the doctor ordered for the Bulldogs to get them on track. A win here coupled with a sweep on the first weekend in March of San Francisco and Saint Mary’s would surely be enough to sneak into the field. The Zags would have to avoid any missteps along the way, but if they do, they could breath a little easier heading into the WCC tournament.
LAST FOUR IN: Ole Miss, Memphis, Seton Hall, Virginia
FIRST FOUR OUT: Villanova, Colorado, Providence, Florida
NEXT FOUR OUT: Wake Forest, Gonzaga, Oregon, Miami
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big 12: 10
Big Ten: 6
Big East: 6
Follow me on Twitter/X @tkbrackets. I will give you updates all season long as we make our way to Phoenix for the Final Four.