GLENDALE, Ariz. --- When you get to this point in the season, when the national media gets into the picture, it can be all about the perception.
It is a truth many Spokane and Gonzaga fans know to be true: Our perception of the Zags can be very different from other peoples’ outlook that are not so familiar with the program.
On one hand, you know they are not a mid-major anymore and on the other hand, they do get slighted for playing the smaller conference and that sort of thing.
This perception becomes amplified when you go into a match-up that pits historically great teams – the “bluebloods” like North Carolina against fresher blood like Gonzaga.
North Carolina vs. Gonzaga can seem like a David vs. Goliath story on paper but to these teams, it is anything but.
In the 2017 season, both squads are number one seeds. So even if the national media wants to proposition this as the big bad ACC school against a lowly WCC squad, the Gonzaga players are not treating it like that at all.
“We feel like we belong here,” Silas Melson, a junior, said on Sunday. “Like I’ve been saying, on paper you know, North Carolina vs Gonzaga, it may look like that but we have prepared and practiced for this moment all year.”
“There is no fear, we’re not thinking that North Carolina is you know, rah rah, bigger than anybody,” Melson said. “We’re just going out there and playing the game.”
“You said David and Goliath, and I think we all know what happened at the end of that story,” Josh Perkins, a standout sophomore said. “So if that’s what they’re going to say, you know, we’ll take it.”