If the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the Oregon Ducks dominate at the Final Four on Saturday, the NCAA men’s championship basketball trophy will come back to the Northwest.
“Anything can happen,” said University of Oregon student reporter Jack Butler of the Oregon Daily Emerald. “And if you’re one of four teams you have a chance.”
Butler and his colleague Alex Castle at the U of O student radio station KWVA have been reporting on the Ducks men’s basketball team and have been assigned to cover the Final Four in Phoenix.
“Getting to go down to cover a historical moment for this entire school,” said Castle, “it’s pretty exciting.”
The only other time Oregon has made it to the Final Four was in the inaugural NCAA tournament in 1939. Back then the team was called the Webfoots and their nickname was the Tall Firs. Oregon won that championship title.
In Spokane Wednesday about 50 people gathered under a cold rain to see off the Gonzaga Bulldogs men’s basketball team pull away from campus in a bus for the Spokane airport.
“I honestly thought there’d be more people out here,” said Spokane Police officer Brad Moon. “Obviously the weather has probably played a huge part in that.”
“It’s true fans right here,” said GU senior Pablo Gabella. One woman snapped a selfie with a player; other well-wishers asked for autographs.
Jenn Wasley waited to catch a glimpse with her 11-year-old son Kyler.
“I wish we were headed to Phoenix with them,” Wasley said. “We’re super excited and I hope they can bring it home.”
On Saturday Gonzaga plays the South Carolina Gamecocks; the Oregon Ducks play the North Carolina Tar Heels. The winners face off for the championship title Monday.