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No. 1 Gonzaga avoids becoming first to lose to 16 seed

Mar 21, 2013, 7:11 PM EDT

Gonzaga v Southern Getty Images

No. 1 seed Gonzaga dodged a bullet.

With four minutes left in their opening round game against No. 16 Southern, the Zags were tied at 54 with the Jaguars of the SWAC. For those that don’t know, a No. 1 seed has never, ever lost to a No. 16 seed. Ever. This was the brink of something historic.

And then Kevin Pangos hit a jumper. And Gary Bell hit a three that was set up by Pangos. And then Pangos his a three from deep in the corner, giving Gonzaga a 62-58 lead with just over a minute left.

That was enough, as Gonzaga held on to beat Southern 64-58.

But it certainly wasn’t a statement win by any stretch of the imagination.

So here’s the question you need to ask: Was this a sign of things to come, or was this simply a case of Gonzaga strugglingly under the pressure of being a No. 1 seed out of the WCC? Because I’ll be honest, with the exception of Kelly Olynyk — who scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half — and Pangos, the Zags looked terrified and hesitant on Thursday.

They didn’t look like the team that I watched this season, the one that I thought had as good of a chance to win the national title as anyone and that I picked to make it all the way to the title game. And the most important thing for the Zags to do is to get this game out of their mind as quickly as possible.

Everyone is entitled to one rough night in this tournament. There’s a reason it’s called “survive and advance”.

And luckily, Gonzaga survived.

Because a loss would have set mid-major basketball back a decade.

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You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

  1. sdb74 - Mar 21, 2013 at 7:50 PM

    Been trying to tell Rob & others this Gonzaga team is so overrated. They’re a joke. They’ll be gone Sat. Realistically, they belong in the 7 to 11 seed category. Worst number 1 seed of all time. They are maybe a .500 team in Big Ten/Big East. Think Illinois, Minnesota, or Villanova.

  2. bballerjones - Mar 21, 2013 at 8:20 PM

    Gonzaga almost became ‘GONE” outa here. That team has the worst schedule of any team in the tourney. Why, I watched a very good Wichita State team bury Pittsburg with ease. And Pittsburg is no slouch. I’ll be very surprise if the Zags are in it after the next game. ” Gonzaga, this tourney isn’t for softies!!!”

  3. llfreedman - Mar 21, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    I don’t really think they looked “terrified” or “hesitant.” I think the Zags just met an athletic/long Southern team, who gave the “dominant” big men of Gonzaga problems. Mark Few said exactly that in the post-game interview, basically Southern’s big men just matched up well.

  4. scoocha - Mar 21, 2013 at 10:00 PM

    Still wondering why Gonzaga deserved a #1 seed this year and Murray State which ended up in the Top 7 last year was given something like a 4-6 seed? Yes, Zags were 31-2 but they didn’t beat enough quality teams. They are the Boise State of Men’s College BB. That being said, history tells us that after a scare like this, the #1 seed usually rights the ship and wins at least a few more games. Plus, the West should have a bunch of upsets, making their road even easier.

    • scoocha - Mar 22, 2013 at 6:14 PM

      Looks like I was right regarding the upsets. Zags coast to Elite 8 now.

  5. ireportyoudecide - Mar 21, 2013 at 11:20 PM

    Southern was making very tough 3’s. Reminded me of when Ohio beat Georgetwon a few years ago. Gonzaga survived and that’s all that matters. Still wouldn’t be surpirsed at all if they made the final 4. Just like I wouldn’t be surprised if Louisville loses next round ethier. There is a reason why they play 7 game series in the NBA. Don’t judge to much from 1 game.

  6. zagdog - Mar 22, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    Good thing Zags won, sdb74 might have jocklated if they lost.
    Overrated is MWC, New Mexico, UNLV, Boise out round one.

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