Can Gonzaga Go Undeafeated?
The Gonzaga Bulldogs improved their record to 28-0 with a win over the Pacific Tigers 81-62 on Saturday. They are just 11 straight wins from pursuing a perfect 39-0 season. If they are able to complete the perfect season, they will be the first team since Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers accomplished it in 1976. Since then, there have been 5 teams to enter the NCAA March Madness Tournament undefeated and all lost. Gonzaga is easily on the path going undefeated heading into the tournament. Does Gonzaga have the potential in completing the perfect season or are they going to hit a bump on the road and watch their undefeated season get shattered?
Gonzaga leads all of Division I in point margin, outscoring their opponents by 23.7 points per game. They are in the top 15 in the country in both offense and in defense. They also have resume wins over Florida, Iowa State, Arizona, and St. Mary's twice. With these statistics and wins against ranked teams, they have the rights to be the number 1 team in the country, right? Are they the absolute number one team in the country? Do they deserve that top spot?
There is a whole other side on why the Gonzaga Bulldogs are currently undefeated. To many, this team is nowhere near as respectable as their record shows. What Gonzaga has lacked for much of the season is competition. According to ESPN.com, Gonzaga's strength of schedule is the 100th in the country. Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference, which is not too strong of a conference. This conference consists of San Francisco, San Diego, Pacific, BYU, Pepperdine, Portland, Santa Clara, and Loyola Marymount. None of these teams come close to a potential bid for the 2017 March Madness Tournament. The only other competitive team in the West Coast Conference is St. Mary's, who have the 141st toughest schedule in the country.
Gonzaga may be undefeated. They may be the number one team in the country, but they do not have the team to complete the perfect season. The lack of competition they have had throughout much of the season will not physically and mentally prepare them for the NCAA March Madness Tournament. They are not destined to advance far in the tournament. They are highly overrated and do not have the pure talent to make it far. Gonzaga will be eliminated in the Sweet 16. Don't be surprised if their journey ends in the Round of 32.