Remember when Gonzaga was an upstart that couldn’t crack the polls, but was a consistent tournament team and one that nobody wanted to play? Today the Bulldogs are a college basketball powerhouse with games on ESPN.
The next Gonzaga has arrived and they are located less than an hour from my house – meet the Winthrop Eagles. The #2 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels certainly did last night.
in recent years, Winthrop has beaten Marquette, Providence, Georgia, Clemson and Missouri. They should have beaten the #2 seed Tennessee in the tournament last year. It took a last second, fade away three by the Volunteers to put the Eagles away.
This season they are playing at Mississippi State, at Maryland, at #9 Wisconsin and at #12 Texas A&M, having already played #2 UNC. They also have a mid-major clash with Northern Illinois in a rematch of last year’s 98-97 double overtime Eagles win.
I expect Winthrop to at least go 3-3 in those games (having already lost to the Tar Heels). It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Eagles pick up a win against one of the ranked teams.
Look for Winthrop to back in March Madness again this year and look for whatever overrated BCS conference opponent they happen to play to be a little nervous.