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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Gonzaga will face Portland, San Diego once each on 16-game WCC schedule

UPDATED: Thu., June 17, 2021

Gonzaga forward Anton Watson shoots a jumper during the second half against BYU on Jan. 7 in the McCarthey Athletic Center.  (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Anton Watson shoots a jumper during the second half against BYU on Jan. 7 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany/The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s 16-game West Coast Conference schedule next season includes single contests against Portland and San Diego and two-game sets against the remaining seven schools.

It will be the fourth consecutive season Gonzaga and Portland meet once, but the previous three – won by GU 116-88, 85-72 and 89-66 – were at the Chiles Center on Portland’s campus.

Next season’s matchup will be at the McCarthey Athletic Center, bringing former Eastern Washington head coach Shantay Legans, who was hired at Portland shortly after the Eagles’ first-round loss to Kansas in the NCAA Tournament, back to the region.

The Zags’ lone meeting with San Diego will be at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion.

The WCC adopted a 16-game schedule instead of an 18-game double round-robin prior to the 2019 season in hopes of boosting the conference’s chances of earning multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament.

Conference games will begin Dec. 30. Dates and television schedules will be announced at a later date.

The WCC schedule is based on the 2020 and 2021 NET rankings, seeding from last year’s WCC Tournament and a spring coaches’ poll.

Gonzaga was picked first in the spring poll with nine first-place votes and 81 points. BYU (68 points) edged Saint Mary’s (66) for second. BYU received one first-place vote.

If the spring poll follows the guidelines of the preseason poll typically released in October, coaches aren’t allowed to vote for their team, an indication BYU’s first-place vote came from Gonzaga’s Mark Few.

Loyola Marymount was picked fourth, followed by San Francisco, Santa Clara, Pepperdine, Pacific, San Diego and Portland.

The Zags, likely to be ranked No. 1 in the AP preseason poll, have won the past four meetings against San Diego by an average of 36 points. The Toreros finished ninth each of the last two years.

Legans faces a sizable rebuilding job at Portland, which is 1-42 in conference with three consecutive last-place finishes. Legans has revamped the roster with six transfers, including three former Eagles.

Gonzaga routed Portland 103-57 behind Portland native Silas Melson’s 23 points in January 2018, the Pilots’ last visit to Spokane.

BYU’s single-game matchups are against San Diego (home) and Santa Clara (away). Saint Mary’s has single games against Pacific (home) and Portland (away).

The WCC Tournament will be March 3-8 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

WCC women’s teams will continue playing 18 conference games.

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