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Gonzaga vs. Xavier is why we love March

Gonzaga vs. Xavier playing in the Elite Eight… is this NCAA Tournament heaven?

Whether you have a rooting interest in one of these teams or not, seeing both of these two programs set to meet in the Elite Eight for one of their rights to make their first Final Four is why people love March Madness so much.

Over the past two decades, both Gonzaga and Xavier have broken out of the mid-major shell and have become not only NCAA Tournament regulars, but have become basketball powerhouses to the delight of so many fans watching. They’re always the sentimental fan favorites and both have had their great moments and disappointing ends. Both schools have made eight Sweet 16 appearances and both are now in their third Elite Eight. And one of them will finally make their first Final Four.

While Xavier may no longer be considered a mid-major since their move into the new Big East and Gonzaga is perennially a No. 1 seed, still, both are schools who are easy to fall in love with. Neither schools have football programs, meaning their tremendous basketball tradition is what carries the excitement around the schools. Combined between the two private Jesuit schools there are fewer than 10,000 undergraduate students. Neither have anywhere close to the huge billion dollar endowments that many of the Blue Bloods like Duke, Kentucky, UCLA or North Carolina have. Combined, their endowments don’t even add up to half a billion dollars.

The amazing part about this NCAA Tournament matchup is that even despite Xavier being in the Big East, and even despite Gonzaga being a No. 1 seed, it still feels like both are still Cinderella teams.

Gonzaga is the favorite to win the NCAA tournament through many of the computer models, but the poor West Coast Conference competition the half of the season heading into March and the struggled to get truly top-tier recruits out to Spokane, Washington still make them a team you’d pick against when they go up against one of the big dogs of the sport. Even despite the great athleticism of Nigel Williams-Goss and the inside power and toughness of Przemek Karnowski.

Xavier is a No. 11 seed after suffering through a very poor February, but they’ve learned how to play without point guard Edmund Sumner. And Trevon Bluiett has used the big stage to become a true star of this year’s tournament as the Musketeers have upset sixth-seeded Maryland, third-seeded Florida State and second-seeded Arizona in the biggest seed upset of this year’s NCAA Tournament. He’s averaged 25 points per game and against the Wildcats he hit exactly that mark after a 7-for-8 first half shooting from the floor.

Xavier is now looking to become the fourth 11-seed in tournament history to make their run to the Final Four, hoping to join the likes of LSU in 1986, George Mason in 2006 and VCU in 2011.

But only one of these Cinderella-powerhouses will break through into the Final Four finally. Being able to watch how it unfolds is another part of the great story and why March is one of the best times of the year.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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