It was once a Cinderella story. Now, it's more Goliath than David.
The Gonzaga basketball team embarks on its first NCAA tournament as a No. 1 seed on Thursday at 1:10 p.m. PT. The game will be broadcast on TBS with postgame press conferences streamed live on SWX TV and swxrightnow.com.
The Bulldogs are the big kids on the block, now, and up first is the type of team Gonzaga used to be -- 16-seeded Southern.
With a No. 1 seed comes great expectations, though, but Gonzaga players claim to notfeel any added pressure.
"I see it as a great honor, I don't really see it as a weight on our shoulders," senior Elias Harris said. "We were lucky enough to get the 1-seed and we got to make the best out of it and play team basketball and show we're worthy of it."
There have been no reasons to not believe the Bulldogs, as they've already dealt with playing with an AP No. 1 ranking, the first in program history, and have been favored in just about every game.
Gonzaga (31-2, 16-0 WCC) hasn't lost a game since Jan. 19 at Butler, and its only other loss came in December to Illinois. Both teams were ranked at the time. If Gonzaga is able to advance, it wouldn't face a team ranked in the final AP poll until a potential Sweet 16 matchup with either Wisconsin or Kansas State.
But that's in the future, far in the future. For now, the Bulldogs are not overlooking its second-round opponent.
"We still have to go out and we still have to win," Kelly Olynyk said.
It will help that large masses of Gonzaga fans are expected to fill EnergySolutions Arena on Thursday, providing a home-court feel.
"It means a lot to us, our fan support has been great all year long," Harris said. "We've got tremendous fans that really support us at all times and I really think that's going to help us out."
"It's really nice to see that kind of following and that kind of support we saw in Vegas a couple weeks ago at the conference tournament," Olynyk added. "It's really nice to play in front of that kind of crowd and have that kind of support. It really gives you a lift as a team that you don't have to bring yourself, which is always nice."