The days have long since passed when Gonzaga could lie in the weeds and surprise anybody in college basketball. But this year, it seems possible that the Zags, even ranked No. 21 by The Associated Press, might be a bit underrated.
"We want to be special," says sophomore guard Kevin Pangos. "We want to go places Gonzaga teams haven't been, do some things maybe the greatest teams (here) accomplished. That's what we want to be compared to."
Gonzaga hasn't been to the Sweet 16 since 2009. The past three seasons, it won NCAA tournament openers in impressive fashion, then lost the next game — last season in a rugged, down-to-the-wire finish against Ohio State.
That team went 26-7 and had an 11-year run of West Coast Conference championships snapped by Saint Mary's.