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Fantasy basketball: Simulation projects Gonzaga reaching title game before falling to Dayton

UPDATED: Sun., March 15, 2020

Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi receives the WCC Tournament MVP trophy from conference commissioner Gloria Nevarez following the Zags’ win over Saint Mary’s in the title game. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Joel Ayayi receives the WCC Tournament MVP trophy from conference commissioner Gloria Nevarez following the Zags’ win over Saint Mary’s in the title game. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

The NCAA Tournament has been canceled but not the guessing game over how college basketball’s showcase event would have turned out.

According to SportsLine.com’s simulations of every tournament game, Gonzaga was in for another lengthy tournament run but finishing one win shy of its ultimate goal.

SportsLine projected No. 1 seeds Gonzaga and Dayton making the title game with the Flyers winning 79-78. The Zags reached the 2017 championship game before falling to North Carolina 71-65.

Sportsline used the bracket of CBS Sports’ Jerry Palm, which listed Kansas, Gonzaga, Baylor and Dayton as top seeds. Duke, a three seed in the Midwest, knocks off Kansas to advance to the Final Four. No. 2 Florida State defeats Baylor in the South Region final.

Gonzaga opens with an 85-67 West Region win over 16th-seeded Siena in Spokane while No. 15 Eastern Washington drops an 84-64 decision to No. 2 San Diego State in Sacramento, according to SportsLine’s projection model.

The Zags then ease past No. 9 Colorado 76-70 and No. 4 Oregon 78-76, setting up a date with the Aztecs, who eliminates No. 6 BYU 74-73. GU moves into the Final Four with a 77-73 victory over San Diego State.

Gonzaga knocks off Florida State 78-74 in Atlanta while Dayton edges the Blue Devils 78-77. The Flyers pull out the title game for their consecutive one-point victory.

According to SportsLine, Dayton won 50.3% of simulations against Gonzaga after setting the Zags as a hypothetical two-point favorite, provided there were no injury concerns leading up to the matchup.

No. 8 Saint Mary’s edges No. 9 Oklahoma 73-69 before losing to Dayton 79-72 in the second round. BYU joins GU in the Sweet 16 with wins over Stanford and Seton Hall.

SportsLine projects 13 one-point games and nine settled by two points.

ESPN’s Joe Lunardi tweeted out his final bracket projection, even though numerous conference tournaments were canceled before they started or prior to completion.

Lunardi listed Gonzaga as the top seed in the West and the No. 2 overall seed with the Zags facing the Prairie View A&M-North Carolina Central winner in the opening round. Kansas is the No. 1 overall seed.

EWU is seeded 14th in the West, facing No. 3 Seton Hall. No. 6 BYU was paired up against No. 11 Indiana with No. 8 Saint Mary’s facing No. 9 Rutgers.

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