After losing just one game in the regular season, Gonzaga (32-1) was awarded a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Zags open against No. 16 South Dakota State (18-16) on Thursday at 2 p.m. ET.
Gonzaga, once again, is seeking its first Final Four in school history – and Silas Melson is tired of hearing about it.
“Yeah, I do (get tired of it),” the Gonzaga guard said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I get tired of hearing all the dirt that they’re throwing at us. I hear people always talk about how we’re going to take the first-weekend exit, and I question that because we’re just coming off Elite Eight and Sweet 16 appearances. But hopefully we can end those talks this year because we only use them as motivation.”
If the West region becomes chalk, Gonzaga would have to beat No. 8 Northwestern (23-11), No. 4 West Virginia (26-8) and No. 2 Arizona (30-4) to reach the Final Four. Melson, a Portland native, said it would mean “everything” to get to the Final Four.
“Just being part of the Elite Team, if we made the Final Four, that would mean the world,” he said. “To do something that’s never been done, prove a lot of people wrong, then it’s just something you can take for your whole life. Right now, we’re just trying to embrace the moment and get there.”
Gonzaga typically has great guard play, and this year is no different. Nigel Williams-Gross is averaging a team-high 16.9 points and 4.8 assists per game, Jordan Mathews is averaging 10.4 points and 1.6 assists, and Melson is averaging 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
“Coming after Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell, it’s not easy to do, but it helps just to have those guys leading you,” Melson said of Gonzaga’s guard tradition. “It also helps your confidence to be a guard in this program because you know so many good guards have come out.”