‘Zags have the firepower to follow path to perfection

While there are several likely challenges in the upcoming NCAA Tournament, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are loaded with talent, coaching and defensive intensity, and are the odds-on favorite to win the school's first national championship.

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Sports

March 17, 2021 - 9:55 AM

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few looks on as his team takes on the Saint Mary's during the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals on March 8. Photo by Ethan Miller / Getty Images / TNS

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — This has already been the most turbulent college basketball season in history. There’s a genuine fear that COVID-19 will give new meaning to March Madness if, at any point, it forces a team to exit the NCAA tournament.

The last thing anyone wants for one of America’s best sporting events is to have the coronavirus become a bracket buster. Really, I make enough bad selections every year to destroy my own bracket without COVID-19 ambushing a viable Final Four candidate.

In 2019, after correctly identifying seven NCAA champions in my 12 previous annual brackets, my prediction game went south. I hit on only one Final Four team, third-seeded Texas Tech, while picking the wrong ACC teams (Duke, North Carolina) to reach the title game and having eventual national champion Virginia exiting in the Elite Eight. Since 2007, my winning percentage on Final Four picks is .384 (20 of 52), the equivalent of an average 3-point shooter.

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