Northwest CBB Hoops Woes?
The Bulldogs, or Zags whatever you like to call them, are the only team in the Northwest in the first CBB Coaches Poll ranked at 23rd.
Gonzaga is the favorite to win the West Coast Conference, yet again, and while they used to be legit bubble busters a few years back in the Big Dance they have not advanced past the 2nd round in the last 2 seasons.
Will that change this season?
Well, one big question marks for the Zags is how will the team do without last season’s leading scorer of Steven Gray? After all he’s 7th on the Zags all time list for career assists with 339, and 6th in steals with 155.
Marquise Carter will be the guy to take over for Gray in the backcourt and after a slow start of the season where he was not THE guy he stepped up at the end of the season and won the MVP of the West Coast Conference Tournament.
He is not a great shooter, but will need to score for Gonzaga to have a successful season.
Regarded newcomer Gary Bell Jr. will take over for the solid departed PG Demetri Goodson and he can score and will be counted on to do that to take some pressure off Carter.
These 2 guys were the main reasons that Gonzaga ranked 10th in the nation in FG% last season.
Harris may have a breakout junior season after being a little bit of a disappointment last season after a great freshman season.
The Zags finished last season at 25-10 and I think they will improve upon that this season.
They play a tough early season schedule that will help prepare them for WCC play, before conference play they face Washington State, Hawaii, Notre Dame, Illinois, Michigan State, Arizona, and Xavier.
It is no surprise that Washington and Washington State are not in the pre-season rankings, as WSU lost star G Klay Thompson and UW lost leading scorer G Isaiah Thomas and 2nd leading scorer and leading rebounder Matthew Bryan-Amaning.
Oregon was 21-18 last season, but they lost their leading scorer in Joevan Catron and Oregon State may struggle again after going 11-20 and 5-13 in conference play.