The second-smallest city to host the World's Fair, Spokane welcomes underdog status, and you won't hear from residents any "indignation about not getting respect," Stuckart said. "We're just happy to be from Spokane."

Since the 1999 run to the Elite Eight, Gonzaga "has been central to our identity as a city," he said, and it's been common in years past for people to have high hopes, idealistically jotting down Gonzaga as a Final Four team in their brackets.

"But this year, people are picking them to go all the way," Stuckart said. "We're ranked No. 1 in the polls. The next step is the Final Four, right?"

Said Litos, "Lord forbid they win it all. Then, party on."