Finally, after 18 long years Mark Few and Gonzaga have punched their ticket to the Final Four. After only losing one game all season long, many including myself still doubted if Gonzaga was actually the real deal. Well, I think they've answered that by securing their first Final Four appearance in school history. With that being said of all the teams that'll be in the Final Four it's safe to say Gonzaga had the easiest road. They had to play a 16 seed aka an automatic win, a very mediocre Northwestern team, and West Virginia who shot the worst percentage I've ever seen in a game. Tonight they took on Xavier and it was more of the same.
Xavier without a doubt was the Cinderella of the tournament coming into the Elite Eight. Now, Xavier is obviously a pretty good team if they were able to beat Maryland, FSU, and Arizona. Unfortunately, Gonzaga is the same team as Xavier, except in a different conference, and a lot better. What I mean by that is these two teams come from mid major conferences, however they're the consistent dominant power of that conference. Xavier is a smaller team built on speed and shooting 3's. Gonzaga likes to get out and run as well, but they can also pound it inside to Karnowski. Well, Xavier decided they were gonna collapse their defense to try shut down the easy shots in the paint, too bad Gonzaga's guards were on a mission not too miss. Gonzaga shot 50% from deep compared to Xavier that shot 12.5% from deep, that ultimately was the difference in this game. Gonzaga hit shots and Xavier didn't, simple as that. Typically when a team makes ten more 3's than you do they're going to win. Gonzaga just shot the lights out while Xavier couldn't buy a basket and that's why the final score was 83-59.
Mark Few finally gets the monkey off his back, he had the most wins for a coach that never made a final four, and I'm sure that's a record he's glad he no longer holds. I always look forward to the Gonzaga collapse because I know these teams don't endure the same grind of a season facing crazy talented teams basically every game like they do in these power 5 conferences, so I don't respect their body of work as much. I am happy Mark Few got to the Final Four and I hope he wins it, he's too good of a coach to not be respected as one of the best ever. We all know the only way you get respected as one of the best though, is if you win a championship. Regardless the outcome, Few needs to be respected for what he's done. When you can build a program that's won 20+ games for the past 18 seasons never missing a tournament in the process, is a seriously impressive feat, I don't care what conference it is. Congratulations to Gonzaga for finally cracking the code and getting into the Final Four, hopefully they don't get content with this accomplish as the ultimate goal is yet to be reached.