Gonzaga is on upset alert again. The NCAA tournament 2017 bracket is out, but many Final Four predictions suggest a Gonzaga upset will take place in one of the early rounds. While the college basketball rankings have been kind to the Gonzaga Bulldogs this season, including a spot as the No. 1 team in the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll at one point, the NCAA March madness has typically claimed the school as one of its victims. Can the West Coast Conference champions overcome a history of losing the big game?
In the 2017 NCAA tournament bracket, the Gonzaga Bulldogs received the No. 1 seed in the West Region. In first-round action, it’s Gonzaga vs. South Dakota State on March 16. Start time for the game is 11 a.m. PT on TBS, with the action taking place in Salt Lake City. The winner of that first game will take on the winner of the Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt matchup at 2:30 p.m. PT (also on TBS). There is already chatter on social media that Vanderbilt or Northwestern could put Gonzaga on upset alert in the second round.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) March 12, 2017
The Gonzaga Bulldogs finished the season with a 32-1 record, winning the WCC regular season title as well as the conference tournament. Now, the school faces a South Dakota State team that was just 18-16 this year. It ranks them as one of the worst in the tournament, quieting any suggestion that a No. 1 seed could get upset in first round action. It is that second-round game that has the college basketball analysts talking. The Northwestern Wildcats were 23-11 (10-8) with some impressive victories on their resume. The Northwestern basketball schedule included key wins over ranked teams like Texas, Wisconsin, and Maryland.
The Northwestern vs. Vanderbilt game should be a good one, providing unpredictability from a No. 8 vs. No. 9 game that could eliminate many college basketball fans who are trying to put together the perfect bracket. When it comes to the NCAA tournament predictions, CBS users are favoring Northwestern 53 percent to 47 percent over Vanderbilt. Then it gets interesting, as 5 percent of those fans filling out a NCAA bracket on CBS are predicting a Northwestern upset of Gonzaga.
A Gonzaga vs. Northwestern game could certainly be an interesting one, but a majority of college basketball fans still feel that the Bulldogs will advance. Two potential teams awaiting them in the Sweet Sixteen are West Virginia and Notre Dame. Sixty-six percent of fans predict no Gonzaga upset and an easy route to the Elite Eight. Eighteen percent predict the Notre Dame Fighting Irish advance and 13 percent favor the West Virginia Mountaineers.
This is where the Gonzaga Final Four predictions take a huge hit, as most people filling out 2017 NCAA tournament brackets feel that it is the Arizona Wildcats who will emerge as the regional winners in the West. In the potential Gonzaga vs. Arizona game that could take place in the Elite Eight, 45 percent of CBS college basketball fans feel that the Wildcats are heading to Phoenix for the 2017 Final Four. Only 33 percent of the people submitting brackets on CBS feel that Gonzaga will prove that they deserved a No. 1 seed.
There are a lot of experts, analysts, and fans submitting 2017 NCAA tournament predictions who call the West Region the weakest part of the entire bracket. This is where the Gonzaga vs. Arizona debate gets picked up again, with broadcasters like Bill Walton publically stating that the Pac-12 tournament champions should have received a No. 1 seed. Those same experts feel that Arizona has the easiest route to the Phoenix Final Four, with the only significant roadblocks being Florida State and Gonzaga.
Another interesting scenario is possible within the Gonzaga NCAA tournament predictions. The school is in the same bracket as the Saint Mary’s Gaels, with the potential of a Gonzaga vs. Saint Mary’s game on March 25 in the Elite Eight. A Gonzaga upset at the hands of the rival Gaels might be something the school could ever recover from. When it comes to bold Gonzaga Final Four predictions, Joe Lunardi at ESPN has the Bulldogs not only making it all the way to Phoenix but getting crowned as the 2017 NCAA tournament champions.
[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]