Gonzaga opens WCC play with three tough road games

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by Tim Lewis

KREM.com

Posted on January 7, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 7 at 12:01 PM

The Gonzaga men's basketball team is done with its nonconference schedule for now. Aside from a random game against Memphis in February and the season finale against Cal State Bakersfield, the Bulldogs play West Coast Conference games from here on out.

The Bulldogs wrapped up a tough preconference slate (with games against Michigan State, Duke, Illinois, and many more) 11-3 and ranked in the Top 25 in both major national polls (No. 19 in the Associated Press; No. 18 in the ESPN/USA Today). Gonzaga head coach Mark Few almost seemed surprise by his teams early season success, saying they've done a "phenomenal job" so far.

Now, it's on to the WCC. Some people think this is the easy part of their schedule, but Few and the players would tell you otherwise. It's particularly difficult for the Zags early on. GU plays three tough conference opponents on the road to get things going. They open against Portland (9-5) on Saturday, and then get St. Mary's (13-2) and San Diego (7-9) the following week.

Last year's team ran the table in conference play. They beat WCC opponents by an average of 19 points per game. Yes, I understand they were a Sweet 16 team, but I don't think it would be a huge stretch to see fairly similar results this season. The Bulldogs really do face the two toughest teams in the conference to start (Portland and St. Mary's both have legit nonconference wins this year), so that will really let everyone know what to expect the rest of the way.

KREM 2 was at Gonzaga's practice on Wednesday. We talked to Mark Few, Matt Bouldin, Elias Harris, Robert Sacre, and Steven Gray. To hear their uncut interviews click here.

 

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