KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyler Dorsey had just led Oregon to its first Final Four in nearly eight decades when he looked into a TV camera and passed along a very simple message to all those East Coast fans.

The ones who are often asleep before the Ducks have even taken the floor.

“Wake ’em up,” Dorsey said with a grin. “Wake up!”

Wide awake, sir. All of college basketball is awake to the West Coast now, after the Ducks dumped top-seeded Kansas and No. 1 seed Gonzaga routed Xavier to send two teams from the Pacific time zone to the national semifinals for the first time in NCAA Tournament history.

If one of them should win the title, it would be the first for a school west of the Mississippi in a decade, and the first by a true West Coast team since UCLA in 1995.

“We’ve opened a lot of peoples’ eyes as far as people thinking the West Coast is soft and we’re not as good as the East Coast, East Coast bias and stuff like that,” the Ducks’ Jordan Bell said.

“I really hope we’ve opened peoples’ eyes. I hope people see we’re as good as anybody else.

“Just put up a court,” Bell said. “We’ll see who is best.”

Hard to argue who that is so far.

Gonzaga has been marching toward national prominence for years, but only reached the Final Four for the first time when it dumped the Musketeers on Saturday night. The Ducks are headed back for the first time since 1939, when the team dubbed the “Tall Firs” won their only title.

In doing so, Coach Dana Altman’s team gave the Pac-12 – which started with four teams in the field – a 10-3 mark in this year’s tournament.

“It means a lot for us to hold it down for the Pac-12,” the Ducks’ Tyler Dorsey said.

“We take pride in that. They always talk about how West Coast basketball is not as good as whoever, but we don’t worry about that. We just lace them up and go play and play as hard as we can.”

DRAKE: The school announced it has hired Furman’s Niko Medved as its new coach.

Medved, the 2017 Southern Conference coach of the year, spent the past four seasons with the Paladins – where he led them to the 2017 Southern Conference regular season title.

Medved, 43, also spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado State under Nebraska Coach Tim Miles.


Tennessee: Center Mercedes Russell said she plans to return for her senior season.

Russell posted on her Twitter and Instagram accounts Saturday that “I just want to take the time to thank VOLnation… but I’ll be back.”

The 6-foot-6 Russell averaged 16.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season for Tennessee (20-12).

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