IU plays Gonzaga for the second consecutive year in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, the Bulldogs eliminated IU in the second round after IU's first round win over the evil Steve Fisher and San Diego State. Clearly, Gonzaga is not the team they were last season. Adam Morrison is gone. Gonzaga did not win the WCC in the regular season but managed to defeat Santa Clara in the conference tournament. The game will be in Sacramento, not to terribly far (by western US standards, at least) from Gonzaga's campus in Spokane. The selection committee has dispatched IU to the western US several times in recent years, at least for the first couple of rounds. This year, IU is in the West region and will play out west if they advance to the Sweet 16. Sacramento should conjure up some nice memories for IU fans: IU beat Utah and UNC-Wilmington in 2002 on the way to the Final Four. That year, of course, IU was in the South and played at Rupp Arena in Lexington for the Sweet 16 and regional final.
Off the top of my head, IU played out west in 2006 (Salt Lake City), 2002 (Sacramento), 2001 (San Diego), and 1995 (Boise). That's five times in IU's last 11 NCAA appearances and four of the last five. It's well past time for us to control our own destiny by finishing as a top four (preferably number one) seed next season. More on this matchup and the tournament later.
I was a bit surprised by the seed. It is now even more frustrating that we lost that game to Illinis Friday night, because a win probably would have given IU a sixth seed and avoided playing UCLA in the second round in California (if IU beats Gonzaga.