Gonzaga players take unusual journeys to Final Four

If Kentucky wins the battle of the boards again, it should reach the Final Four. Tying the Mack vs. Miller series, after Sean Miller's Arizona won round one in 2015. Zach Collins was an infant in 1999, when Richie Frahm, Matt Santangelo, and Casey Calvary engineered an unlikely run to the Elite Eight as a 10-seed before losing to UConn, the 1-seed in their region.

It also marks the first time Xavier's made it to the Elite Eight with Chris Mack. The last back-to-back NCAA champions was Florida in 2006 and 2007.

"We had a plan for ourselves", said point guard Nigel Williams-Goss, the Zags' steadying influence after transferring from Washington.

The Zags next match up hasn't been finalized yet, but they're scheduled to hit the court on Saturday, April 1.

Gonzaga is 36-1. It earned the No. 1 seed it will carry into its first Final Four, and if it wins two more games, it will earn its assigned title of being the best college basketball team in the United States.

(KMAland) - Check out the recaps of NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and Sweet 16 action from Saturday in men's and women's play. However, most probably weren't shocked to see Middle Tennessee win in the first round.

Jackson, has been very good thus far in the tournament, after being suspended for Kansas' only game of the Big XII tournament. However, an underachieving performance in the tournament last year followed by an underachieving season this year could have definitely slowed their roll heading into this spring's evaluation periods. The Bulldogs were shooting just 29 percent from 3-point range in the NCAA Tournament before today.

Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski has taken just one shot but is still making a big impact at the offensive end. A story that's been discussed here and by others at various points throughout March.

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"There have been so many great Zags teams". Gonzaga has all the hallmarks of a well-coached team: The eight players in their rotation have skill sets that complement each other, and they all understand their roles and what they are supposed to be doing on each side of the ball.

The Final Four was the only missing piece to their resume.

It is impossible to underplay the historic meaning of that accomplishment, even in the wake of this program's remarkable 18-year climb up the college basketball ladder.

LEGACY: Gonzaga's Few has built a consistent victor in the Pacific Northwest, though that Final Four is the glaring omission from the resume. No matter what happens on Saturday; Xavier's managed to advance past the point many figured they would this year. The tears welled. He pulled up part of his jersey over his eyes as his Xavier University teammate and coaches slowly filed to halfcourt in a handshake line.

Xavier's case to be considered a Cinderella is really one that could be argued on paper only. "They were a discipline type of team and we just didn't execute well enough".

Gonzaga had great players go through Spokane, great teams that won year after year, laying the foundation for the program's big breakthrough this season. Trevon Bluiett has been one of the best players in the tourney this season, but Few had an answer in Williams, a hyper-athletic 6-foot-9 forward with the length and athleticism to stay in front of Bluiett and still contest his shot.

OR (23-13) had five players in double figures to advance to the program's first regional final in history.

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