You can ask any Gonzaga player and most likely you'll get the same response.
"I felt honored, obviously, because it's a great honor to be a No. 1 seed, it doesn't happen every day," senior Elias Harris said,
"For the end of the day, also, I knew at the back of my mind, it's a number," Harris added. "It doesn't matter who you play now, you still got to take them serious."
That was the sentiment at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Sunday afternoon after the Bulldogs found out they were selected as a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Gonzaga will now turn its attention to Southern University, the No. 16 seed that will face the Bulldogs in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday.
Gonzaga last played Southern on Nov. 12, 2010, when it demolished the Jaguars, 117-72, in a game at McCarthey. Although there are plenty of Gonzaga players that were on the court two years ago, this Southern team is led by a different coaching staff, so familiarity isn't great.
The fact that they finally know who their opponent is, though, is a relief in itself for the players. With the West Coast Conference tournament a week before most others, Gonzaga has had a longer wait than a majority of other teams to find out its draw.
"We're beating up on each other this past week, so definitely be fun to play against somebody else," Gary Bell Jr. said.
Southern is in the NCAA tournament after winning the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) tournament with a 45-44 win over Prairie View A&M on Saturday. The Jaguars (23-9, 15-3 SWAC) have one signature win this season, a 53-51 victory at Texas A&M in December.
Southern is a defensively stout team, giving up just 57.1 points per game. That contrasts with Gonzaga's style of play, as the Bulldogs rank 12th in the nation in scoring offense at 77.6 points per game.
"Based on the information that we have so far, [they] are a real possession-by-possession team," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "They would love to play this thing in the 40s and 50s. They do a great job on the defensive end, with not only their defensive field-goal percentage, but guarding the 3 line."