A familiar tournament foe with a new face at the helm.
Who? The Bulldogs of Gonzaga. Sometimes also known as Zags.
When do they play in the first round? They play GW on Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Where? Spokane, Washington, home of the Bing Crosby Collection, on-site at Gonzaga.
Why? Strong RPI and a history of success.
How? They were an at-large selection.
Surprise? Predicted to finish first in the conference, they were the WCC’s regular-season champions, finishing two games ahead of San Diego.
Record: 24-7 (16-2 West Coast)
Good wins: Dayton.
Bad losses: I’m side-eyeing the loss to American in Las Vegas. Pacific in the Kennel has lost a bit of luster after Pacific was upset in the conference tourney.
Who’s running this show? Lisa Fortier, since 2014, stepping up from the assistant post.
Senior forward Sunny Greinacher leads the Zags in scoring, at 13.7 per game, but as conference play has heated up, so have senior guard Keani Albanez (12.8 points, 2.4 steals) and junior guard Elle Tinkle (12.2 points, 39.3% from beyond the arc). 6-5 junior center Shelby Cheslek holds down the middle at 8.7 rebounds per game.
I’m interested in seeing how Gonzaga plays in their first NCAA tournament with a new coach. Fortier has been there before as an assistant, but being the shot-caller is a different story.