Gonzaga has high hopes again this season and they are ranked 23rd in the preseason AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Polls.
The Bulldogs play 2 ranked teams this season before West Coast Conference play begins in 16th ranked Arizona and 14th ranked Xavier.
While the Zags are the only WCC team that is ranked in the preseason polls and are the favorite to win the conference they still have some big question marks.
The biggest is that someone has to step up for the departed leading scorer Steven Gray and that someone may have to be Marquise Carter.
Carter is not the best shooter, but he can score and he has to play this season like he finished the last one, when he came out of nowhere to win the MVP of the WCC tournament.
Also, for the Zags to have a good season they will need highly regarded newcomer Gary Bell Jr. to play well taking over at the point for Demetri Goodson.
Still, Harris may be the big key, as many expected more of him last season after his solid freshman campaign.
Here are 5 games that are important for the Zags this season:
Notre Dame Nov 30th – While Notre Dame is down this season they are the first game against a legit college power and after the Irish face Illinois and Michigan State. These games may show if the Zags have what it takes to go far in the Big Dance and all 3 are great games to get ready for WCC play.
Arizona Dec 17th – Arizona did lose their best player, but they are a very athletic team and can the Zags keep up with a team like that?
Xavier Dec 31st – This is a big away game and Gonzaga needs to prove they can hang with the big boys away from their house. The Zags will be facing one of the best PG’s in the nation in this game in Xavier’s Tu Holloway, who averaged over 20 ppg and 5 assists per game last season.
Both WCC games facing St. Mary’s – St. Mary’s lost WCC Player of the Year Mickey McConnell to the NBA, but the Gaels are still loaded and last season they shared the WCC title with Gonzaga and will be in a battle again with them for conference supremacy.
Both WCC games facing San Francisco – The Dons won 10 games in the WCC last season and they return most of their team this season.
Gonzaga Bulldogs 2011/2012 Schedule
Tue, Nov 15 Washington St.
Sat, Nov 19 Hawaii
Sat, Nov 26 W. Michigan
Wed, Nov 30 Notre Dame
Sat, Dec 3 at Illinois
Sat, Dec 10 Michigan St.
Thu, Dec 15 Oral Roberts
Sat, Dec 17 (16) Arizona
Tue, Dec 20 Butler
Thu, Dec 22 Air Force
Wed, Dec 28 Portland
Sat, Dec 31 at (14) Xavier
Thu, Jan 5 Pepperdine
Sat, Jan 7 Santa Clara
Thu, Jan 12 at St. Mary’s
Sat, Jan 14 at Loyola Marymount
Thu, Jan 19 San Francisco
Sat, Jan 21 San Diego
Thu, Jan 26 at Portland
Thu, Feb 2 at BYU
Sat, Feb 4 at Pepperdine
Thu, Feb 9 St. Mary’s
Sat, Feb 11 Loyola Marymount
Thu, Feb 16 at Santa Clara
Sat, Feb 18 at San Francisco
Thu, Feb 23 BYU
Sat, Feb 25 at San Diego
Mon, Feb 27 Longwood