And then there were two.
On Monday night, No. 1 Gonzaga will face No. 1 Baylor for the national championship in men’s basketball. Will the Bulldogs (31-0) complete the undefeated season? They are certainly not a Cinderella anymore.
But they were the last time they played Fresno State.
Fresno State and Gonzaga last met in December of 2001 in southern California. It was a “Battle of the Bulldogs,” and Fresno State had a lot of star power on its team: Melvin Ely, Chris Jefferies, Damon Jackson, Travis DeManby.
The Bulldogs of Fresno State were a Top 25 team for that matchup. They led by one point at halftime, but lost the game by ten (87-77). Ely had a double-double: 25 points, eleven rebounds.
Gonzaga had a great season that year. The Bulldogs went 31-4 and earned a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament. They lost to Wyoming in the first round.
Before 2001, Fresno State and Gonzaga also played in 1991 and decades earlier in the 1960’s and 1930’s! Fresno State has never faced Baylor in men’s basketball.