Gonzaga on Sunday found out its NCAA tournament seeding (No. 1 in the West Region), site (Salt Lake City) and opponent (South Dakota State).
The marvels of modern technology meant Gonzaga’s staff would have videotape and advanced analytics on the Jackrabbits as soon coach Mark Few completed his media obligations.
“I haven’t seen them but we will in about an hour,” Few said. “They have a great scorer in (forward Mike) Daum. I’ve heard about him, read things about him actually over the last two years.”
The Zags (32-1) and 16th-seeded Jackrabbits (18-16) tip at 11 a.m. PT Thursday at Vivint Smart Home Arena. The winner faces the No. 8 Northwestern-No. 9 Vanderbilt winner in Saturday’s round of 32.
Fourth-ranked Gonzaga is making its 19th consecutive NCAA appearance, a track record that was appealing to transfers Johnathan Williams, Jordan Mathews and Nigel Williams-Goss.
“This is every kid’s dream to play on the biggest stages and to play for all the marbles,” Williams-Goss said. “That’s why I came here, to win championships. We’ve won a couple already. We’re ready to get this thing started and try to win another one.”
Mathews had two reasons to cheer when the brackets were announced: GU was awarded a top seed and USC made the “First Four” in Dayton. Younger brother Jonah is a freshman guard for the Trojans, who face Providence on Wednesday.
“I was excited to see them get in,” Mathews said. “He was sweating it after how they finished the season.”
The West’s No. 2 seed is Arizona, which lost to Gonzaga 69-62 in Los Angeles on Dec. 3. Florida State is the third seed, followed by West Virginia, Notre Dame and Maryland.
South Dakota State, fourth in the Summit League regular season, upset champion South Dakota in the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Jackrabbits beat Omaha in the title game, 79-77, to earn the automatic NCAA bid, their fourth in six seasons.
Tournament MVP Daum, who averages 25.3 points a game, scored 37 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the championship game.
SDSU played in the NCAA tournament last season in the Spokane Arena, losing to Maryland in the first round, 79-74.
Signature wins for WCC champion Gonzaga included Big 12 tournament champion Iowa State (a No. 5 seed in the Midwest), Florida (No. 4 seed in the East) and Arizona.
Gonzaga also beat Saint Mary’s three times this season. The Gaels are a No. 7 seed in the West.