The marquee and most of the not-as-marquee matchups have been known for a while, so there was only one new entry when Gonzaga released its full nonconference basketball schedule Tuesday.
The Zags will square off with four teams in the Top 25 of most preseason rankings – and the possibility of a top-five addition – as well as an exhibition contest against another ranked opponent.
The slate is highlighted by Kentucky, No. 4 in ESPN’s and CBS Sports’ Top 25 and 1 rankings, on Nov. 20 at the Spokane Arena. Wildcats coach John Calipari has made it clear he wanted no part of playing at GU’s 6,000-seat McCarthey Athletic Center. The return game will be at famed Rupp Arena next season.
Other showdowns include Texas (No. 11 ESPN, No. 12 CBS Sports) on Nov. 16 in Austin; Baylor (No. 7 CBS Sports, No. 8 ESPN) on Dec. 2 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Alabama (No. 20 ESPN, No. 23 CBS Sports) on Dec. 17 in Birmingham.
Gonzaga, which is ranked No. 1 by CBS Sports and No. 2 by ESPN, could face No. 5 Duke if both teams advance to the championship game of the Phil Knight Legacy bracket at the PK85 thanksgiving holiday tournament in Portland.
GU also faces Michigan State, which recently slipped out of CBS Sports’ rankings, on Nov. 11 on an aircraft carrier in San Diego Harbor.
The Zags and Tennessee (No. 9 CBS Sports, No. 12 ESPN) will stage an exhibition game Oct. 28 in Frisco, Texas.
Gonzaga’s home schedule includes an exhibition game vs. Warner Pacific on Nov. 2; the season opener vs. North Florida on Nov. 7; Kent State on Dec. 5; Washington on Dec. 9; Northern Illinois on Dec. 12; Montana on Dec. 20; and Eastern Oregon, the final addition to the schedule, on Dec. 28. GU entertains Chicago State on March 1 for Senior Day.
The Zags thumped NAIA Eastern Oregon 115-62 last season in an exhibition game. The Mountaineers finished 18-13, including 12-10 in the Cascade Collegiate Conference, last season.
The Gonzaga-Washington series resumes after last year’s matchup was called off due to COVID-19 issues in the Huskies’ program. Gonzaga has won six in a row, including an 83-76 victory in Seattle in December 2019, in the most recent meeting, and 13 of the past 14. GU will visit UW next season and in 2026 with the Huskies returning to the Kennel in 2025.
Gonzaga opens the PK85 against Portland State on Nov. 24, with Purdue or West Virginia as potential second-round matchups.
Gonzaga’s annual Kraziness in the Kennel is at 4 p.m. Saturday. The Zags open West Coast Conference play vs. Pepperdine on Dec. 31.
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