New Mexico’s Kendall Williams, right, rides on the back of Tony Snell after New Mexico defeated UNLV.
New Mexico's Kendall Williams, right, rides on the back of Tony Snell after New Mexico defeated UNLV. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

This is the feel-good region because it's nearly impossible to root against Gonzaga, a small school that plays a fearless schedule and boasts a Canadian as its top player (center Kelly Olynyk). The same cannot be said of No. 3-seeded New Mexico, which is sort of a scourge of the Mountain West Conference.

The Lobos won the Mountain West four of the past five seasons and the past two conference tournaments. Coach Steve Alford has also angered opposing fans by wearing the net around his neck after winning the Mountain West tournament

"Fans like it," Alford told the media Saturday night.

Now the question is whether New Mexico can assert itself the same way in the NCAA Tournament. Alford, who is being mentioned as a candidate for the USC coaching job, has won only two NCAA Tournament games in five seasons.