Gonzaga Basketball: Bulldogs Win Big Against Southern Oregon

Preseason news and notes for Gonzaga University men's basketball. To stay updated on Gonzaga, see SBN's Gonzaga University site the Slipper Still Fits.

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Gonzaga Basketball: Bulldogs Win Big Against Southern Oregon, As Expected

There might be two ways to look at Gonzaga's 90-58 win against Southern Oregon last night.

On the one hand, it's an exhibition and the most you can do is look for chemistry and perhaps how well conditioned players are, as described by Zach Bell of the Slipper Still Fits.

The Slipper Still Fits - For Gonzaga Bulldogs Fans
The first thing that jumped out to me was the frontcourt. I don't really care to discuss their post moves and interior scoring because Southern Oregon was obviously outmatched but I absolutely love their ability to run the court. Kelly Olynyk and Sam Dower have built a great chemistry on the court and I hope they see a lot of time together. Both can run, both showed confidence passing in traffic, and they can really stretch the court.

On the other hand, an old problem was present during the game that Mark Few would undoubtedly like to fix: Gonzaga finished with 17 turnovers, including 12 in the first half.

Five reach double figures in GU win - Jim Meehan
GU was turnover-free most of the second half before finishing with four turnovers in the final six minutes. It hardly mattered on the scoreboard as the Bulldogs overwhelmed the NAIA visitors from Ashland. GU led 44-24 at intermission and by as many as 39 in the second half.

"He (head coach Mark Few) just flat-out told us (at half) we can’t turn the ball over like that," senior guard Steven Gray said. "We have to clean things up with our feet and not force passes into the post. Just make simpler plays."

First game jitters and playing without star Elias Harris could certainly have contributed to the turnover problem, but the source of the turnovers - forcing passes into the post, positioning - are things that Few is likely to want to improve before their non-conference schedule begins. Turnovers were their biggest statistical weakness during non-conference play last season, so it's definitely something to keep an eye on as they transition to a new starting point guard.

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Gonzaga Basketball: Bulldogs Ranked First In WCC Preseason Poll

The expectations are only increasing for the Gonzaga Bulldogs men's basketball team as the season nears.

Although we've probably come to expect them to be the WCC favorite by now.

Men's Basketball Favored To Win 11th Straight WCC Title
The Bulldogs received six of the eight first-place votes from WCC coaches and a total of 48 points to out-distance Loyola Marymount University with 42 points and Saint Mary's College with 39, those two schools each garnering one first-place vote. Coaches could not vote for their team.

"One of our goals every year is to win the conference title," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "People don't understand how difficult this conference is, which makes it all that more meaningful when you do win it."

The Bulldogs were also one of four teams to have two selections to the 10-player WCC men's basketball preseason All-WCC team.

Senior guard Elias Harris and sophomore forward Elias Harris were also selected to the WCC Preseason All-Conference team.

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SBN Seattle Feature: Gonzaga Basketball Preview - Five Questions

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As described previously, Gonzaga fans are excited about their team's prospects for the season.

Gonzaga Basketball Preview: What Will It Take To Meet Lofty Expectations? - SB Nation Seattle
With the transition from the unlikely "Cinderella" to a program with a consistent place on the national stage, people are starting to wonder if this will be the Bulldogs' breakthrough year that will see them make the Final Four for the first time in school history.

Yet after losing senior leader and point guard Matt Bouldin, there's plenty of uncertainty in Spokane. There's little question that the team will be good, but how good can they become?

One of the primary questions has to be about the point guard position, which Demetri Goodson presumably has the inside track on. The Slipper Still Fits added some additional insight on the point guard battle this morning.

2010-11 Player Previews: Consistency is key for Demetri Goodson - The Slipper Still Fits
There is no doubting that most Gonzaga fans will have Meech under a big microscope. With junior college guard Marquise Carter now in the fold, many believe he is the answer. Personally, I can't wait to see what Meech brings to the table. Like last season, it will not be a bed of roses but his defensive intensity and overall hustle plays make him fun to watch. If he can play with more control on offense and develop confidence in his outside jumper, there truly will be no ceiling for Meech.

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Gonzaga Ranked 12th In Preseason ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll

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Gonzaga was ranked 12th in the ESPN USA Today Coaches' Preseason Men's Top 25 Poll. See brief commentary here:

ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Preseason Men's Top 25 poll: Gonzaga 12th, UW 16th - The Daily Drip - SB Nation Seattle
In the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Preseason Top 25 poll released today, Gonzaga University was ranked 12th while the University of Washington was tied for 16th with the University of Illinois.

But what do these things mean? Not much, according Zach Bell of SBN's Gonzaga blog.

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