Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gonzaga a Potential 1 Seed

This week’s  AP and USA Today Polls find  Gonzaga University as the number 6 ranked team in the country.   Kenpom has the Zags at #9.  The BPI ratings have Gonzaga at #9 while the RPI has the Zags at 12.   Not great numbers, but Gonzaga has only two losses, to Illinois and at Butler.  The Zags are going to likely end up in the discussion to be a #1 seed if they can win out in the West Coast Conference. 
If Gonzaga keeps winning and winds up as a 1 seed it will follow some exceptional “midmajor” teams that achieved this feat.   Here is a list of schools that reached a number 1 seed as a midmajor since the committee began seeding teams in 1979.

Year                         Team                      Seed                     League                                     Result
1979                        Indiana State        1 Midwest           Missouri Valley                   Lost in NCAA Final
1980                        DePaul                   1 West                  Independent                       Lost in 2nd Round
1981                        DePaul                   1 Mideast             Independent                       Lost in 2nd Round
1982                        DePaul                   1 Midwest            Independent                        Lost in 2nd Round
1984                        DePaul                   1 Midwest             Independent                        Lost Regional Semi
1987                       UNLV                       1 West                   Big West                               Lost in NCAA Semi
1988                       Temple                    1 East                    Atlantic 10                           Lost in Regional Final
1990                       UNLV                        1 West                  Big West                                Won NCAA Tourney
1991                       UNLV                        1 West                  Big West                                Lost in NCAA Semi
1996                      UMass                       1 East                   Atlantic 10                              Lost in NCAA Semi
2002                      Cinncinnati               1 West                 Conference USA                    Lost in 2nd Round

2004                      St Joseph’s               1 East                    Atlantic 10                           Lost in Regional Final

2006                      Memphis                   1 West                Conference USA                  Lost in Regional Final
2008                      Memphis                   1 South               Conference USA                 Lost in NCAA Final
DePaul’s four number one seeds were done while it played as an independent.  UNLV received a number one seed three times out of the Big West Conference. 

What makes Gonzaga’s rise to potential number 1 seed unusual is that they are doing it outside of the Atlantic 10 or Conference USA where St. Joe’s, Temple, and Cincinnati came from.  They aren’t UNLV or Memphis, with large NBA type arenas and metro areas that support the program the way some cities embrace an NBA team -- making Gonzaga's potential top seed, as a small Catholic school, in Spokane, Washington  more of a true aberration than anything the NCAA tournament has seen since Larry Bird’s Indiana State team in 1979. 





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