The Gonzaga Bulldogs have the most wins, 31, going into Thursday's NCAA tournament. They have the fewest losses, two. They were a consensus No. 1 going into Selection Sunday and are the No. 1 seed in the tourney's West Region.

Yet they're still underdogs.

Where's Rodney Dangerfield when you need him?

Ken Pomeroy, the hoops statistician behind, said he believes the Zags earned their No. 1 seed, even if he doesn't agree with the polls proclaiming them the nation's best.

"They're seeded appropriately based on my ratings," said Pomeroy. "I will vouch for Gonzaga being a very good team."

If you feel a "but" coming, your Spidey sense is well-tuned.

Pomeroy, a meteorologist whose work on "tempo statistics" has earned him respect among many coaches and analysts, said he believes the sportswriters and coaches who dictate the national rankings are overvaluing the Zags' record.

The voters may even be unduly charmed by the prospect of a small-conference school from Spokane, Washington, winning the whole shebang, he said. It is, after all, quixotic to think that a private, Jesuit school named for a 16th-Century saint has the same shot as Louisville or Indiana.

But (there it is!) Pomeroy's statistics indicate there are three clear favorites in this year's tournament, and the trio doesn't include No. 1 seeds Gonzaga or Kansas.

Level playing field?

Hold up, wait a minute. What about the purported parity? What about the commentators' common mantra that this is "anyone's tournament," that there are 20 teams who could hang a championship banner from their rafters?

Malarkey, said Pomeroy: "It was a pretty typical year."

Pit your bracket against CNN personalities'

It's true there is no one dominant team, as there was last year when Kentucky (which sent six players to the NBA) winning it all seemed a foregone conclusion, he said. This year's tournament still has its favorites, however.

"The numbers say Louisville, Indiana and Florida are better than (Gonzaga) right now," he said.

The Zags come in at No. 4 in Pomeroy's rankings, but he is quick to say his "ratings represent a team's average performance, and teams rarely put in an average performance."

Plus, history dictates averages don't mean much when young, hungry ballers take the court to compete for the college hoops crown. A bad matchup can sink a clear favorite, as can lights-out three-point shooting or a burst of suffocating defense.

Put simply, Pomeroy said, "The tournament is wacky."

Butler and Virginia Commonwealth proved that two years ago when they upended everyone's brackets by charging into the Final Four. So, why couldn't it happen for the Zags?

They've made 15 straight tournaments since 1999, an active streak topped only by powerhouses Kansas (24), Duke (18) and Michigan State (16). In that span, they've made it to the Sweet 16 four times and the Elite Eight once.

Gonzaga also hasn't lost since January 19 -- to then-13th-ranked Butler -- and while they played only three ranked teams, they didn't slouch during nonconference play, picking up opponents from the Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC.

Doubting Thomases

Where, then, is the love? How can it be that only 5.6% of ESPN's millions of Tournament Challenge participants have the Zags finishing on top? Why can you tune in to the "The Tony Kornheiser Show" and hear the host repeatedly refer to Gonzaga not as the Bulldogs, but as the "choking dogs"? (Kornheiser actually used the word "chokingest" during Tuesday's show.)

Why does Las Vegas put Gonzaga's odds at 12 to 1 to win it all? Why do those same bookies give Gonzaga and Ohio State, the No. 2 seed in the West, near-similar odds of winning the region?

Could it be that in a year when commentators are harping about parity -- a year when schools like LaSalle and St. Mary's get at-large nods over defending champion Kentucky -- Gonzaga is just overhyped?