SPOKANE, Wash. — Many college basketball fans think 2021 is the year that Gonzaga men's basketball could finally win the national title in the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs entered the tournament in 2021 as the 20th undefeated team ever. They broke records left and right throughout the season and are chasing more during their run in the Big Dance.
Gonzaga was ranked at No. 1 in the AP poll throughout the entire 2020-2021 season and named the No. 1 overall seed for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
But this obviously isn't the first year that Gonzaga's squad has made headlines. This year's tournament appearance marks 22 straight for the Zags. It would be 23 if the NCAA Tournament had not been canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus.
The team's NCAA Tournament streak began in 1999, when current head coach Mark Few was an assistant to Dan Monson. The team won 28 games and reached the Elite Eight.
Casey Calvary's shot against Florida in the Sweet 16 in 1999 remains one of the most famous shots in Gonzaga history. When Calvary made that shot, most of America hadn't heard of the tiny Jesuit school in Spokane but the team's impressive win put Gonzaga on the college basketball map.
Few took over as head coach after Monson went to Minnesota after that season. During his 21 seasons in Spokane, Few has reached the NCAA Tournament every year.
In 2017, Gonzaga had the chance to win it all but fell short in the championship game against the University of North Carolina. The Tar Heels beat the Bulldogs 71-65, becoming the fourth team to come back from losing the national championship the previous year and win it the following year.
We can only hope that Gonzaga will make history in 2021 as the first team in program history to win a national championship.
Fans can tune in to Gonzaga's next matchup against USC in the Elite Eight on Tuesday, March 30 at 4:15 p.m. It will be televised on TBS.