What are Gonzaga's title chances?
Why the Zags are the top mid-major title candidate we've seen in years
When the Gonzaga Bulldogs made their first surprising run to the Elite Eight under coach Dan Monson in 1999, the headlines referred to the Bulldogs as "Tiny Gonzaga." Funny how no one refers to the Zags as tiny anymore, even though the school's undergraduate enrollment still hovers around 4,000 (roughly the same size as the Psych 101 lecture section at my big, impersonal state university).
The university is small in size, but the basketball team looms very large in Division I. At 25-2 and a perfect 12-0 in West Coast Conference play, Gonzaga is ranked No. 3 in the nation, and my colleague Joe Lunardi currently projects the Zags as a No. 1 seed in the West region.
We haven't seen a team from outside the six "major" conferences seeded on the top line since Memphis received that honor in the 2008 tournament. The fact that Gonzaga (which host Santa Clara on Wednesday night -- 11 ET, ESPNU) might be a No. 1 seed next month marks the Bulldogs as unique among recent mid-major teams. It also raises a question: Could this be the year that a mid-major wins the national championship?
To read John Gasaway's full take on Gonzaga, you must be an ESPN Insider.
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- No. 1 Kentucky scores first 24, routs UCLA
- Johnson, Tar Heels upend No. 12 Buckeyes
- Authenticity of $33K Jordan shoes questioned
- Louisville's Harrell ejected for throwing elbow
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
Insider CBB content
• Greenberg/Telep: Kansas Jayhawks
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Marquette
• Gasaway/Rankin: Indiana Hoosiers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Michigan Wolverines
• Gasaway/Rankin: Ohio State Buckeyes
• Greenberg/Finkelstein: Memphis Tigers
• Gasaway/Rankin: Florida Gators
• Greenberg/Telep: Kentucky Wildcats
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Louisville Cardinals
• Gasaway/Finkelstein: Syracuse Orange
• Greenberg/Biancardi: NC State Wolfpack
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Duke Blue Devils
• Biancardi/Gasaway: North Carolina Tar Heels
• Biancardi/Gasaway: Arizona Wildcats
• Greenberg/Telep: UCLA Bruins
• Gasaway: Breakout second-year coaches
• Lunardi: Could Louisville repeat as champs?
• Greenberg: UVA tops list of surprise teams
• Fraschilla: How returning stars can improve
• Gasaway: Top title challengers to Kentucky
• Lunardi: Who will earn No. 1 seeds in 2014?
• Telep: Latest on No. 13 junior Theo Pinson
• Rankin: What Wiggins means for Kansas
• Biancardi: KU to prep Wiggins for NBA success
• Telep: Updated look at top recruits
• Roundtable: Most impressive on AAU circuit?
• Ford: NBA draft lottery preview
• Ford: Winners from the NBA draft combine
• Fraschilla: Burke the draft's top point guard?
• Ford: Measurements concern some GMs
• Ford: Why Wiggins would go No. 1 in 2013
Jay Bilas Blog
Jay's take on latest from around the nation
Analysis from Fraschilla, Greenberg and Lunardi
Get news and rumblings before anyone
Hollinger's College PER
College basketball's top players
Get wagering advice for every game