Indeed, West Coast basketball is as bad as we all thought it was.
The first weekend of the NCAA Tournament wiped out every West Coast team, from New Mexico to Washington and Colorado to the Pacific. A dozen West teams earned a berth into the tournament and all of them won’t see a second weekend.
One team, California (24-10), was eliminated in a play-in game Wednesday, essentially gone before things really got started.
Six more were eliminated in opening games Thursday, New Mexico State (26-10), Montana (25-7), Colorado State (20-12), Long Beach State (27-7), UNLV (26-1) and BYU (26-9). Two West teams won that day, New Mexico (28-7) and Colorado (24-12), but they beat two other West teams.
On Friday, two more departed in their first games, San Diego State (26-7) and St. Mary’s (27-6). Gonzaga (26-7) won that day, the only West team to advance that did not beat a West Coast team, although in was West Virginia.
All three would tumble Saturday, but Gonzaga gave a mighty fight to Ohio State, a potential tournament champion, as the Zags lost, 73-66.
The weekend wasn’t even over and they all caught flights home. It’s not like this was unexpected. Earlier in the week, I wrote that none of the teams would reach the Sweet 16 and was 12-2 in my predictions, figuring Gonzaga, Colorado and New Mexico would win (then lose). The two I missed were Cal’s pathetic effort and I thought San Diego State could beat North Carolina State in their opener but they lost, 79-65.
Of the 16 teams remaining, Ohio has four schools represented, Ohio State, Ohio U., Cincinnati and Xavier. First time that’s ever happened. One is guaranteed to advance as OSU plays Cincinnati in the next round.
Kentucky and Louisville advanced. They could meet each other in the national semifinals. North Carolina and North Carolina State both moved on and they could meet in the Elite Eight.
And you wonder why there’s an East Coast bias?