This year however, is even more exciting. Our beloved Zags are the number 1 ranked team in the nation and have a #1 seed going into the tournament. Both Carl and I are Gonzaga alums and Carl played for the Zags from 95-98.
It's been quite a ride the last eighteen years. It started with our first visit to the "Big Dance" in 1995 - my freshman year in college. I traveled with the pep band to Salt Lake City to watch the Bulldogs play against Maryland. We were beat pretty handily but it was still a great experience.
The next visit to the tournament is the one that most people remember - the 1998-1999 team that shocked everyone by beating the #2 Standford Cardinal in the second round. I was also at the Sweet Sixteen games where we beat Florida by 4 in the final seconds and eventually lost to UConn in the Elite Eight (UConn went on to win the tournament).
Another memorable tournament showing was the 2003 game against #1 ranked Arizona. Gonzaga came in as #9 and played Arizona in the round of 32. A double overtime game that was decided by one point and a really good look by Blake Stepp that just didn't fall! Carl and I had just started dating and I have vivid memories of our hooping and hollering at the tv and our utter dejection at the outcome! I've seen them replay this game several times on ESPN Classics.
We've never made it past the Elite Eight - but there's always this year! I filled out two brackets, one has them winning... yes, I made that choice based upon my heart. The other bracket has them losing in the Final Four... some might argue that bracket was also chosen with my heart. We'll see!!
Go ZAGS !!!