By JUDAH NEWBY, 750 The Game
When it comes to picking a side to root for in Thursday’s Sweet Sixteen matchup between Gonzaga and UCLA, fans of the Ducks or Beavers have a problem.
Do you root for Gonzaga, hence rooting for a Pac-12 team to lose, missing an opportunity to cash a cool couple million for the conference?
Or do you root for UCLA, despite their exodus to the Big Ten?
“I’m torn on this,” John Canzano said on 750 The Game on Monday. “Are you rooting regionally, because your Pacific Northwest allegiance should tell you, ‘root Gonzaga’. Or, are you rooting with the Pac-12 going, ‘hey, if UCLA wins, even though they’re leaving the conference, that’s $2 Million every time they win, so that’s money in the pocket of the Ducks and Beavers and everybody else.”
Canzano noted that the more the Bruins advance in the tournament, the more money comes the way of the conference. That money would then be dispersed to the ten schools staying in the Pac-12 and UCLA would itself not directly benefit.
“If UCLA does advance to the national title game, it’s $2 Million to beat Gonzaga, it’s $2 Million to beat the Arkansas/UConn winner, it’s $2 Million to beat the Midwest champion, it starts to pile up. And guess what? UCLA doesn’t get that money. That money goes to the remaining ten members. So I’m sure there are some constituents in the Pac-12 footprint who are sitting back going – ‘You know what, Go UCLA, go right ahead, get those units and cash that money, and you won’t be around to collect it’.”
At the end of the day, Canzano says Ducks and Beavers fans should root for either side knowing there is merit to each.
“It’s kind of a win-win. Because if you’re a Pac-12 fan and Gonzaga beats the pants off of UCLA, you’re going to celebrate that as justice. And if you’re a Pac-12 fan and UCLA wins, you’re going to go, ‘well, it’s money in the pockets of the Pac-12 schools’. So I guess you’re in a no-lose situation if you’re a Pac-12 school.
“Although you probably wish there were more Pac-12 schools in the Sweet Sixteen.”
UCLA is the lone conference member still dancing.
Listen to the full segment from John Canzano’s radio show on 750 The Game below. Canzano delivers the Bald Faced Truth weekdays 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.
You can hear full play-by-play coverage of Gonzaga and UCLA via Westwood One on 750 The Game and streaming for free at 750TheGame.com. Tip off is set for Thursday at approximately 6:45 p.m. via Westwood One.