James Snook-US PRESSWIRE
NCAA basketball is upon us as Gonzaga opens with their first game of the year at home.
For the first time in over a decade, the Gonzaga Bulldogs are not defending WCC Champions.
That honor went to Saint Mary's last year. After losing Robert Sacre to graduation, the Zags return most of the key members of last year's team that loss to Ohio State in the second round.
The Zags return four of their five top scorers and their prized backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. each have another year of experience under their belt. The addition of Polish import Przemek Karnowski and the return of Kelly Olynek from redshirting might be the ticket for Gonzaga to make it past the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1999.
First on the list is to take down the Southern Utah Thunderbirds of the Big Sky Conference. The Thunderbirds went 14-17 overall last year and return two of their top three scorers, Jackson Stevenett and Damon Heuir. The 6'4 forward Stevenett averaged 14.1 points and 5.7 rebounds a game but might have a difficult time with the height discrepancy between himself and the Gonzaga frontcourt. Heuir averaged 10.8 points a game last year.
Game time, TV channel: 6:00 p.m. PT; ROOT Sports
Radio broadcast: No Seattle area broadcast
Point spread: Gonzaga is favored by 22-points.