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Gonzaga Basketball: The Perennial Powerhouse in the West

For over two decades, the Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team has been a force to be reckoned with on the national stage.
Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few
Gonzaga Head Coach Mark Few / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages

For over two decades, the Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team has been a force to be reckoned with on the national stage. This small Jesuit university located in Spokane, Washington has transformed itself into a perennial powerhouse, shattering expectations and redefining the notion of a college basketball blue blood.

The Rise of the Zags

Gonzaga's ascent to the upper echelon of college basketball can be traced back to the late 1990s when they hired head coach Mark Few. Under Few's guidance, the Bulldogs made their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1999 and haven't looked back since. They have now made 24 consecutive tournament appearances, including two trips to the national championship game in 2017 and 2021. Under long-time head coach Mark Few, the Bulldogs have made the NCAA Tournament 22 straight seasons from 1999 to 2022. Their streak is currently the longest active streak among Division I teams.

A Culture of Excellence

What separates Gonzaga from many other elite programs is their sustained excellence year after year. The Zags have won at least 25 games in 22 straight seasons, an incredible feat of consistency. They've captured 20 West Coast Conference regular season titles in the last 23 years, establishing an iron grip on the league.

Recruiting Powers

Despite being located in the Pacific Northwest, far from traditional hoops hotbeds, Gonzaga has proven to be a recruiting juggernaut. Coach Few and his staff have utilized an intelligent scouting network and player development system to unearth diamonds in the rough, both domestically and internationally. Players like Domantas Sabonis, Rui Hachimura, and Chet Holmgren blossomed into stars at Gonzaga after being underrated prospects.

Playing Style

The Bulldogs are renowned for their free-flowing, unselfish offensive style that emphasizes ball and player movement. They consistently rank among the nation's best in field goal percentage and assist rate. On defense, they deploy an aggressive man-to-man scheme that creates turnovers and transition opportunities.

NCAA Tournament Success

While regular season dominance is impressive, Gonzaga's legacy is cemented by their performance on college basketball's biggest stage - the NCAA Tournament. They've made the Sweet Sixteen eleven times since 1999 and advanced to the Elite Eight on five occasions. Their runner-up finishes in 2017 and 2021 were heartbreaking, but a clear indication that this program has the potential to cut down the nets as national champions.

The Gonzaga Way

More than just wins and losses, Gonzaga embodies the ideal of the student-athlete experience. Their players excel in the classroom, are active in the community, and conduct themselves with class and humility. The program's sustained success is a testament to an unwavering culture of excellence instilled by Coach Few, his staff, and the university leadership.

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As a new generation of talent cycles through Spokane, you can count on the Bulldogs maintaining their status as a college basketball blue blood for years to come. Gonzaga is here to stay among the nation's elite.