SALT LAKE CITY — Light snow dusted the city this morning as the nation’s No. 1-ranked Gonzaga men’s basketball team prepares for a light practice this afternoon at the EnergySolutions Arena before the Bulldogs’ third-round NCAA Tournament game at 6:40 p.m. (MDT) (5:40 p.m. PDT) on Saturday (on TNT) against the Shockers of Wichita State. The Bulldogs (32-2), the No. 1 seed in the West region, have shifted their focus off No. 16-seed Southern University, whom they narrowly beat 64-58 on Thursday, to the No. 9-seed Shockers (27-8) who beat Pittsburgh 73-55 here Thursday.
In postgame interviews Thursday, junior forward Kelly Olynyk spoke of how well the Zags’ West Coast Conference schedule prepares the Bulldogs for difficult, high-intensity games like the Zags experienced against the Jaguars of Southern. Also, senior Mike Hart offered his take on the Southern game; videos below.
For the third consecutive week, the Zags remained No. 1 in the nation in the final Top 25 Associated Press and USA Today coaches’ polls of the season released Monday; Gonzaga received 45 first-place votes in the AP poll, off from 54 the week prior, and 30 of 31 first-place votes in the USA Today poll. Gonzaga is the first team from a non-Bowl Championship Series conference to finish No. 1 in the final poll since Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 in 1996.