It seems Washington is a house divided when it comes to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
This week’s Seattle Sidelines poll asked readers where their allegiance lies when this year’s tournament begins Thursday. Specifically, we asked whether their primary support was with the University of Washington Huskies or Gonzaga University Bulldogs, and it turns out both schools have their backers. Here’s how you voted:
POLL: Which team from the state of Washington has your primary support in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Full context here: https://t.co/1NcOJTLIEy
— Nick Patterson (@NickHPatterson) March 18, 2019
Add it all up and it nearly a dead heat. Washington received the most votes with 48 percent, but Gonzaga was right behind at 44 percent. Eight percent chose neither.
This is an interesting result to me. For people in Snohomish County Washington is clearly the home team, as campus is a short drive down I-5 to Seattle, so one would think the Huskies would receive the most support. However, Pacific Northwest sports fans have a history of supporting winners, and when it comes to basketball in the state of Washington it’s the Bulldogs who are the perennial achievers, as the Spokane school is making its 20th straight trip to the big dance. I was curious whether the results of the poll would reflect a hometown bias or bandwagon hopping. I’d say they show both. But the fact a school 300 miles away received almost the same number of votes as a school 30 miles away seems to reinforce the idea that our region likes a winner.
I was a little surprised the “neither” option didn’t get more votes. I know Snohomish County has it’s fair share of Washington State Cougar fans, and I have to think at least some of those fans aren’t particularly fond of either Washington or Gonzaga. And there has to be people in the area who’s main allegiance is to a team outside the state (I happen to be one of them). Yet at 8 percent “neither” received an almost insignificant amount of votes.
Both teams now know who they face in the first round. Fairleigh Dickinson beat Prairie View A&M 82-76 in their play-in game Tuesday night. That means Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West Region, faces No. 16 Fairleigh Dickinson at 4:15 p.m. PDT on Thursday in Salt Lake City. The game is being televised on truTV.
Washington, the No. 9 seed in the Midwest Region, faces No. 8 Utah State at 3:45 p.m. PDT on Friday in Columbus, Ohio. That game can be viewed on TNT.
And don’t forget about the Snohomish County natives taking part in the NCAA tournaments. That includes King’s High School graduate Corey Kispert, who is a starter for those Gonzaga Bulldogs. Meanwhile, in the women’s bracket Glacier Peak High School grad Paisley Johnson is fresh off leading BYU to the WCC tournament championship.