Bubble Watch: Gonzaga’s 15-Year NCAA Tournament Streak In Jeopardy

Mark Few, Gonzaga Bulldogs

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

“Matty Basketball,” Matt Carlino had 15 points and six assists as the BYU Cougars defeated the Gonzaga Bulldogs 73-65 on Thursday night in Provo. Anson Winder also contributed 17 points in the winning effort. Sam Dower scored 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the Bulldog loss.

For the Zags, this game serves as a crushing loss. BYU, with the exception of Saint Mary’s, is the only somewhat quality team in the WCC. Beating them would have been a solid resume booster for a Gonzaga team that prior to tonight sat at 23-4 on the season and 13-1 in conference play.

Although they possess a very good record, Mark Few‘s Bulldogs lack marquee wins, and that could be very damaging to their NCAA Tournament hopes come Selection Sunday. Few has built and developed perhaps the nation’s premier mid-major program out in Spokane, but for the first time in 15 years, his team’s NCAA Tourney bid is in jeopardy. The Zags’ best win is probably BYU in the two teams’ first meeting earlier this year, and that speaks volumes.

The Cougars have the potential to be a very dangerous bunch if they can reach March Madness behind the terrific backcourt of Carlino and Tyler Haws, who averages 24.1 points per night. And even though their record of 19-10 and 11-5 in the WCC does not stack up to Gonzaga’s, BYU’s resume is far more complete with non-conference wins over Stanford and Texas.

It’s looking more and more likely that the Zags will have to win out in the WCC Tournament to secure a bid in this year’s tournament.

Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. You can follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27

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