Saturday, March 20, 2021

(As reported by Chuck Culpepper for the WASHINGTON POST)

SPOKANE and WACO, Texas – And then came that cockamamie year when the sovereign towns of men’s college basketball seemed to sob in a strange unison. Lexington lapsed. Durham dulled. East Lansing ebbed. Lawrence and Chapel Hill frowned somewhat.

And soon the shivering American hoop maniacs looked out over the landscape and spotted two big towns towering above all others all winter. These weren’t newcomers, but they also weren’t aristocrats. In weird old 2020-21, the consciousness and the weekly rankings tilted hard toward a near-perpetual 1-2 of Gonzaga and then Baylor. They bowed far from Tobacco Road toward Eastern Washington, 18 miles from the Idaho border, and Central Texas, a hundred minutes above the great Austin.

And so there hovered – and hovered, and hovered – two places still amid the giddiness of climbing: Gonzaga craving a first national title after