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‘We don’t have to back down': Gonzaga, Creighton represent Jesuit universities in NCAA Tournament

The last Jesuit school to win the tournament was Georgetown in 1984.

SPOKANE, Wash. — Sunday's Sweet 16 matchup for Gonzaga will be an opportunity to gain some bragging rights.

Creighton University, like Gonzaga, is a Jesuit institution located in Omaha, Nebraska, and both schools are vying for their first national title.

There are only 28 schools in the country built on the same principles.

“So you gotta like it when they have basketball teams that are at the big dance,” said Father Pat Conroy, a Jesuit priest at Gonzaga. “People from Omaha, people from Spokane, it’s like we don’t have to back down to New York or Los Angeles or anybody.”

A Jesuit school hasn’t won a Men’s NCAA tournament since 1984. That’s when Georgetown brought home the trophy and it’s only been done by four other schools.

Marquette, Loyola Chicago, San Francisco twice and Holy Cross were the teams prior.

These colleges and universities have a strong focus on their Catholic faith and higher learning.

“Solid, community-based, academic institution,” Conroy explained.

Now for the sixth straight year, Gonzaga will be playing in the Sweet 16. Creighton on the other hand is fairly new to this big of a stage.

This is their first time playing in the third round since 1974 and only their third overall appearance in the Sweet 16.

The passion and dedication from Zags fans are quite infectious with an energy that can be felt anywhere in town. Basketball is a way of life and the same can be said for Creighton.

The two schools have played each other 10 times before Sunday's game. The Bluejays have the overall record with six wins-to-four. The Zags have taken the last two matchups.

“As it is, unfortunately, the Zags are going to have to eliminate Creighton,” joked Conroy.


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