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Gonzaga earns school's first No. 1 seed, headlines West Region

5:59 PM, Mar 17, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - The No. 1-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs might not have received the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but the team did position itself well, earning the top-spot in the West Region on Sunday.

The West Coast Conference champion Bulldogs (30-2) have had plenty of post season success in the past, but it's the first time in program history that the Zags have been awarded a No. 1 seed.

Although Gonzaga has made a name as the "under-dog" in season's past, the Bulldogs reached new heights this year with 31 wins -- the most in school history -- and enter the tournament winners of 14 straight games.

Plus, the Zags have plenty of experience on their roster, as they've had an impressive run of 15 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Up first for Gonzaga is 16th-seeded SWAC champion, Southern University. The contest takes place in Salt Lake City, UT on Thursday.

Ohio State picked up the No. 2 seed in the West after the Buckeyes defeated Wisconsin to win the Big Ten Conference title -- their third in the last four years. Coach Thad Matta's squad takes on the Iona Gaels, who head back to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year after winning the MAAC Championship.

The winner of that contest in Dayton, OH, faces the victor of Friday's other contest between 7 seed Notre Dame against 10th-seeded Iowa State.

After New Mexico earned the Mountain West's automatic bid by defeating UNLV on Saturday, stud guard Tony Snell declared, "I think we deserve a No. 2 seed or higher (in the NCAA Tournament) 'cause we definitely proved ourselves all year. That's what I think."

While some may have dismissed Snell's statement, it turns out he wasn't far off, as the Lobos landed the No. 3 seed in the West Region. They will play on Thursday and face Ivy League champion Harvard, which earned back-to-back NCAA berths for the first time in program history.

The Arizona Wildcats earned the West's sixth seed and play on Thursday in Salt Lake City versus a dangerous Belmont squad which won the Ohio Valley Conference over Murray State in overtime. The Bruins, who advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season -- after consecutive appearances from the Atlantic Sun Conference -- are one of three Division I programs to earn a bid in six of the last eight years.

Eighth-seeded Pittsburgh out the Big East Conference, faces ninth seed Wichita State on Thursday, also in Salt Lake City.

The other Friday games taking place in Kansas City, pit No. 4 Kansas State against the winner of Boise State/La Salle and fifth-seeded Wisconsin against 12th-seeded SEC champion Ole Miss.

The West's Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games will be played at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on March 28 and 30.

The Sports Network

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