Skip to content

No. 1 Gonzaga Shocked by No. 9 Wichita State

Mar 23, 2013, 11:16 PM EST

Kelly Olynyk Gonzaga AP

The last time Gonzaga had lost, we were only three weeks into 2013. That is no more.

No. 9-seeded Wichita State climbed back from an eight-point second half deficit to upset No. 1-seeded Gonzaga, 76-70, knocking off the first No. 1 seed of the tournament and advancing to the Sweet 16 in the process at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday night.

Wichita State used 50 shooting from the field, including 14-of-26 shooting from three-point range to erase that deficit and take the lead, 64-63, with 3:10 to play. That was made possible by three-pointers on back-to-back-to-back possessions over a three-minute span that ignited the Shockers’ offense.

Among those three-point shooters were Ron Baker and Cleanthony Early, both of whom were 4-of-6 from three-point range on the night. That impressive shooting night comes after shooting 2-of-20 as a team in the Round of 64 against Pittsburgh.

Gonzaga could not survive the upset despite grabbing 20 offensive rebounds on the night. Wichita State did a fine job of bothering big man and National Player of the Year candidate Kelly Olynyk, who needed 22 shots to score 26 points on the night. They also concentrated the offensive production in the hands of three players: Olynyk, Kevin Pangos, and Elias Harris. Those three combined for 81 percent of the team’s scoring.

Gonzaga becomes the third No. 1 seed in the past four years to lose in the Round of 32 and the first No. 1 seed to be eliminated from this 2013 NCAA tournament. And that comes after perhaps the shakiest performance by a No. 1 seed in the Round of 64, when No. 16-seed Southern ran the Bulldogs to the wire Thursday evening.

Lapses on the perimeter hurt Gonzaga and three-point shooting like it endured Saturday is not easily reconciled, even when rebounding on the offensive boards at a rate that they did.

For Gonzaga, it means another pre-Elite Eight elimination, meaning Dan Monson remains the only head coach to lead the Bulldogs past the Sweet 16.

This Round of 32 loss does little to substantiate the calls for more respect to be given to this batch of mid-major teams on the West Coast that came throughout the season. Those calls grew louder when Gonzaga reached No. 1 in the national polls. Of the seven teams from the Mountain West and West Coast Conference that made the NCAA tournament, only San Diego State has a chance to make it to the Sweet 16. The Aztecs tip off against No. 15-seed Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday at 7:10 p.m.

That series of losses includes No. 3 New Mexico in an upset to No. 14 Harvard in the Round of 64, UNLV, and Saint Mary’s in that same round, as well as Boise State in the First Four and Colorado State in the Round of 32.

The Gonzaga loss could have one other lasting effect on the NCAA tournament: No. 1 seeding for mid-major schools. With this memory of Bulldog loss, there could be some hesitancy to hand another non-BCS school a No. 1 seed. The ironic part is, though, that many may fail to remember that it was a mid-major who eliminated that mid-major No. 1.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Latest Posts
  1. Late Night Snacks: Minnesota wins at Michigan State, No. 7 Arizona and No. 13 Utah roll

    Feb 27, 2015, 1:31 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Michigan State fouled three-point shooters on two separate occasions late in regulation, and it set the stage for an overtime loss at home.

  2. Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings apologizes for postgame outburst directed at freshman guard Wade Baldwin IV

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:47 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The Vandy freshman taunted a Tennessee player as time expired in the Commodores’ win, and his head coach read him the riot act in the handshake line.

  3. Bubble Banter: Just how safe is Michigan State, and did Ohio State punch a ticket?

    Feb 26, 2015, 10:29 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Who were the winners and the losers on the bubble on Thursday?

  4. Jae’Sean Tate produces another quality performance as Ohio State blows out Nebraska

    Feb 26, 2015, 9:17 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Tate scored a career-high 22 points Thursday night, and his move into the starting lineup has helped Ohio State.

  5. West Virginia announces addition of five year-old to basketball program (VIDEO)

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:35 PM EST

    Bob Huggins Bob Huggins

    Five year-old Nicholas Wince spent the entire day with West Virginia prior to their win over Texas, signing a National Letter of Intent as well.

  6. Shoulder injuries to sideline USC freshman point guard for remainder of season

    Feb 26, 2015, 5:54 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Without Jordan McLaughlin, USC will have to rely on Julian Jacobs at the point in their final two regular season games.

  7. Alabama junior guard to miss remainder of season due to foot, knee injuries

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:50 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    In addition to a ruptured plantar fascia suffered in a loss to Florida in late-January, Ricky Tarrant also needs to undergo a procedure on his left knee.

  8. Jim Boeheim: ‘I wish I had another solution’ to the postseason ban

    Feb 26, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    Jim Boeheim AP

    Boeheim doesn’t seem pleased about the ruling.

  9. adidas releases new NCAA Tournament uniforms

    Feb 26, 2015, 11:19 AM EST

    @adidashoops @adidashoops

    These are more understated than recent adidas uniforms.

  10. Report: Former Louisville guard Chris Jones charged with rape, sodomy

    Feb 26, 2015, 8:26 AM EST

    AP Photo AP

    Chris Jones was dismissed from the team on Sunday.

  11. Wednesday’s Snacks: No. 1 Kentucky moves to 28-0, Northwestern knocks off Indiana

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:38 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    And No. 2 Virginia limited Wake Forest to 21.8% shooting without two starters.

  12. Duke’s defense once again an issue as they get taken to overtime by Virginia Tech

    Feb 26, 2015, 12:07 AM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    The Duke defense is the biggest red flag on any true contender.

  13. Three-point barrage leads to No. 19 Baylor’s first-ever win at Iowa State

    Feb 25, 2015, 11:33 PM EST

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Scott Drew’s Bears went on an 18-4 second half run to take control of the game, hitting six three-pointers.

  14. Bubble Banter: Wild night in the Atlantic 10, Indiana in trouble?

    Feb 25, 2015, 9:57 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Here are Wednesday’s bubble winners and losers.

  15. Big 12 reprimands Kansas State for security issues following Monday’s win over Kansas

    Feb 25, 2015, 7:10 PM EST

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also notes that the conference is having conversations regarding possible protocols for situations in which fans rush the court.