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Who's going to beat Gonzaga this season?

I thought USC had a chance in Tuesday night's NCAA West Regional final in Indianapolis.

I thought the Trojans tournament surge, their overall size, and defensive ability were logical reasons why an upset could take place. 

Silly me.

Two minutes into the game, Gonzaga led by 7, by the half USC trailed by 19 and the game was effectively over.

"It's tough to come back against them,'' said USC coach Andy Enfield, who took his team as far as they could possibly get, which was an 85-66 rout by the Zags.


Considering Gonzaga is 30-0, winning all of its games by double digits since mid-December and has now won more NCAA tournament games since 2015 than any team in college basketball, it gets easier and easier to put the crown of greatness on their shoulders.

The Zags., who used to be the classic ""little school''' taking on the Goliaths, has emerged the most blue blood program in college basketball under Coach Mark Few.

Their next stop is the Final Four on Saturday against a team with some pedigree of its own, UCLA, who advanced along with Houston and Baylor.

Of that group, UCLA, as a No. 11  seed, is the only real surprise to the final NCAA party of this COVID-19 plagued season.

Picking against the Zags at his point would appear to be a dangerous proposition, although the burden of history looms.

How could it not be? 

No team since Indiana has finished a season with a perfect record and only seven teams have ever done that since the NCAA started keeping official records of March Madness back in 1939.

Since Indiana, only four other teams have come into the NCAA tournament with unblemished records.

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1979 Indiana State

1991 UNlV

2014 Wichita State

2015 Kentucky

All stumbled, with Indiana State and UNLV losing in the national championship game.

This will be Gonzaga's second Final Four—the Zags lost to North Carolina in the national championship game in 2017.

Who knows what might have happened last season. The Zags were 31-2 and a mortal lock as a No. 1 seed before COVID-19 shut down the entire NCAA tournament.

The challenges facing Gonzaga are not insignificant.

UCLA is the biggest surprise, becoming the first team playing in a First Four Round game to make it to the Final Four since VCU did it in 2011.

There are more men's college basketball national championships hanging at UCLA (11) than anywhere, but the Bruins last visit to the Final Four was in 2008 and their last national championship was 1995.

If Gonzaga has coasted into the Final Four, UCLA has crawled, beating Alabama and Michigan in its last two games by a combined total of 11 points, with a 51-49 decision over Michigan on Tuesday night in their latest conquest.

The other half of the draw has a regional feel to it as No. 1 seed Baylor (South) takes on No. 2 seed Houston (Midwest) in what used to be a spirited  football rivalry in the now defunct Southwest Conference.

In basketball, not so much.

Baylor, which appears to have the best chance of upsetting Gonzaga, has not appeared in a Final  Four in 71 years. 

Houston has not been to a Final Four since 1984 during the Phi Slama Jama days. It has advanced this far by beating the No. 15 seed (Cleveland State), No. 10 seed (Rutgers), No. 11 seed (Syracuse) and No. 12 seed (Oregon State).

Until proven and shown otherwise, anything less than Gonzaga cutting down the nets following a national championship victory on Monday will be a surprise.