This upcoming season is looking to rock for Gonzaga basketball fans, and for many reasons. The incoming players are great, but what is equally great is the non-conference schedule that head coach Mark Few and his staff have organized.
The schedule is tougher than usual which will make or break Gonzaga’s RPI. Out of the four games listed below, three are revenge games. If Gonzaga players are able to reach within and use their talent to win all of them, they’ll be on their way to securing a stellar ranking in the AP Poll and seed in the NCAA Tournament in March.
The toughest and most intriguing games of 2014-15:
Gonzaga @ University of Arizona
On December 6th, the Zags will have a shot at redeeming themselves from the disaster that occurred in the third round of the NCAA tournament this year. Arizona is predicted to be ranked number two in the Top 25 poll for the first week of the 2014-2015 season, whereas the Zags are predicted to be ranked at number 18. This will be a tough game, but if the Zags keep the ball under control and if Kevin Pangos is healthy and ready to play it could result in a much-needed W for the Zags.
Gonzaga vs SMU
This past year, both of these teams did well, but had fairly weak schedules, so their true talent didn’t really shine. On November 17th, the Southern Methodist Mustangs will travel to Spokane to play the Zags.
This matchup will be part of ESPN’s College Basketball Tip-Off Marathon. Both teams have strong incoming freshman, so the game should be a fun one to follow. SMU was fortunate to sign number two overall point guard prospect Emmanuel Mudiay, which is unfortunate for the Zags. Don’t consider this a loss just yet for Gonzaga, because one major thing that they have going for them in this game is that it qill be played at home. They are known for having an incredible home record. They’ve won 134 and only lost 8 games since McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004.
Gonzaga @ UCLA
Gonzaga and UCLA have only met twice in the past, and the last meeting was not a good one. Back in 2006, the Zags were leading the Bruins the entire game, and then in the last 20 seconds of the game the Bruins got a steal and pushed ahead. The Zags fell to the Bruins 73-71. This was also the game where former Gonzaga star Adam Morrison broke down and cried on the court.
Morrison is now part of the coaching staff for the Zags, so hopefully the Zags can get revenge for the team and for him. This will probably be the most entertaining game for Zag fans to watch. The date for this game has yet to be released.
Gonzaga vs Memphis
This past year the Zags fell at Memphis 54-60. It was a close game, but the Zags’ normal three point shooting percentage was way off. Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski were both battling game injuries as well. The Zags fought hard, but couldn’t pull it off.
This year the Zags and the Tigers will meet again, but this time in Spokane, where the Zags thrive. If Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell can be on their marks, this will be a real fun one. The date for this game has yet to be released.
All four of these games show that Gonzaga is looking for a challenge this year, and Gonzaga fans will need to be with the team at all times. It’s going to be a fun year, so Zag UP!