NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - First Round

GU got by No. 16 seed Norfolk State with ease in the Tournament's first round, but not all higher seeded teams fared so well.

Upsets in the NCAA tournament are the heart of March, and the 2021 tournament is no exception. With only a weekend left of the madness, brackets are broken, but students’ excitement and belief in Gonzaga remains unchanged.  

There are a few teams that make GU students nervous heading into the final games. 

“Baylor is the only team I think could beat them, but we won’t see them until the championship,” said Kevin Lunden, a senior.

Baylor has only two losses and won the Big 12 regular-season championships for the first time in program history. 

 A fan-favorite sleeper team seems to be the Oregon State Beavers. 

 “I had Oregon State going to the Sweet 16, which a lot of people thought was a bad choice, but they [were] in the Sweet 16 [last] week,” said Tori Stutzman, a GU junior.

 Oregon State hasn’t made an appearance in the tournament since 1963. They were seeded 12th in the Pac-12 tournaments and ended up winning.

 “Oregon State [had] upset everyone that they played, so I wouldn’t count them out. It just shows you that any team can win on any given day,” said Kendsy Carmicheal, a junior.

With what feels like more upsets than ever, students are ditching their original brackets and placing bets on the remaining rounds with all faith still in GU.

“I don’t care anymore about the brackets since most of my final four are done except Gonzaga. I am just hoping Gonzaga wins. I still watch all the games, but in the end, all I care about is Gonzaga,” said Luke O’Rourke, a junior. 

 As students remain confident and hopeful for GU, they feel an emphasized sense of community from their friends and family alike. 

“My whole family texts me during the games, and there is this element of comradery,” said Zach Zamberlin, a senior. “This year has been so up and down and now everybody has come together and ignited by one team.” 

In the absence of a tournament last year, there is more appreciation and excitement across all generations of Zags. 

 “Every time the game is about to play, my family and even my extended family will text or call me, and I see so much support from other people. It’s awesome to see how March Madness has brought so many people together,” Carmicheal said. 

If GU wins, no one will be talking about their broken brackets. They will be celebrating. 

“Brackets are important, but what’s more important is that Gonzaga wins,” said Henry Barbor, a senior. 

 With GU living up to the hype, every win needs to be celebrated and appreciated. The Zags have three more wins, and they will be the first undefeated champion of the NCAA tournament since Indiana 45 years ago. 

 Some students are already talking about potential ways to commemorate such a victory. 

“If the Zags were to win, I don’t think we would have a choice but to get tattoos,” said Tre Johnson, a senior.

Becca Murphy is a staff writer.

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