It feels as though the Gonzaga Bulldogs already should be in the Final Four, with 29 victories and not a single defeat in the books and the national semifinals just six days away. Even the best of teams, though, are required to win four games in the modern NCAA Tournament to reach the game's grandest stage.
The Zags are the best of teams, but they still will be required to prove it once more to reach the destination that is every college basketball player's dream, though perhaps more of a plan for group as gifted as this.
Mark Few has been to the Elite Eight before as Gonzaga head coach, and as an assistant before that. This is the program's fifth appearance, and it has gotten there four times in the past six tournaments.
Gonzaga has been here as recently as 2019, then as now as the No. 1 seed in the West Region. That team missed the opportunity to move on. This team carries an even greater burden, with a perfect record and the role as favorite to win the national championship.
The Zags are not just favorites, though. They are that team that's supposed to win, like Kentucky in 2015 or UNLV in 1991.
"We're not hung up on the undefeated thing at all. We've got to go 3-0 if we want to win the championship, and that's been our goal all along," Few told reporters following Sunday's alarmingly easy 83-65 victory over No. 5 West Region seed Creighton. "Pressure is on all these teams as you get farther and farther along with this. Pressure comes from all kinds of places, and the biggest pressure of all is you just don't want it to end."