Nothing is set in stone during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Gonzaga appears to have completed the nonconference portion of its basketball schedule.
The Zags added three more home dates – vs. Southern, Dec. 10; vs. Idaho, Dec. 14; and vs. Northwestern State, Dec. 21 – to reach 11 nonconference matchups and 27 games overall. The latter is the maximum permitted by the NCAA this season.
Gonzaga has six home games and five neutral-court matchups prior to opening the West Coast Conference schedule on Jan. 2. GU will be heavily favored in six home contests that fall between Dec. 8 and Dec. 29. The only road trip in that stretch is a Dec. 19 clash with No. 5 Iowa in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Zags, ranked No. 1 in the preseason AP poll for the first time in program history, open with pair of road trips. They will face No. 6 Kansas on Nov. 26 and Auburn on Nov. 27 at the Fort Myers (Florida) Tip-Off.
Gonzaga is expected to take on No. 12 Tennessee in the Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 2 in Indianapolis. An official announcement is expected in the next few days. The Zags will remain in Indianapolis for a showdown against No. 2 Baylor on Dec. 5.
The Zags have four home games (Tarleton State, Southern, Northern Arizona and Idaho) in a seven-day stretch in December.
Gonzaga and Idaho will meet for the first time since November 2008 when the Zags claimed an 80-46 victory over the visiting Vandals. GU went 9-0 against Idaho in eight meetings between the 1999 and 2009 seasons, all but one win by double digits. The Vandals lead the series 70-64 with their most recent victory a 71-64 win in 1998.
Idaho was 8-24 last season, 4-16 in the Big Sky Conference.
Southern, 17-15 last season, finished second with a 13-5 record in the Southwestern Athletic Conference. The Jaguars are picked to finish second behind Texas Southern in the preseason SWAC poll.
Senior guards Ahsante Shivers and Micah Bradford were preseason second-team All-SWAC selections. Shivers averaged 9.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season. Bradford contributed 8.8 points, 3.4 assists, 2.3 assists and 1.1 steals.
Northwestern State, 15-15 overall and 11-9 in the Southland Conference last season, is picked 10th out of 13 teams in the preseason poll. Senior guard Jairus Roberson is the top returning scorer at 11.9 points.
Gonzaga is No. 2 in KenPom.com’s preseason ratings of 357 D-1 teams. Here’s where its opponents rank: No. 1 Baylor, No. 5 Kansas, No. 12 Iowa, No. 20 Tennessee, No. 66 Auburn, No. 263 Southern, No. 268 Northwestern State, No. 286 Northern Arizona, No. 321 Dixie State, No. 334 Idaho and No. 335 Tarleton State.
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