Mark Few and the Gonzaga Bulldogs are 1-0 with a double-digit victory over a quality Yale program, heading into a Tuesday evening game against NAIA opponent Eastern Oregon. Though the Zags haven’t proven much yet this year they are already the best team on the west coast, with only the Trojans of USC joining them in the AP Top 25 this week.
(Note: I’ve never seen a coast in Arizona, so I’m not counting the Wildcats even though they are, justifiably, a top five team after a road win over Duke at Cameron)
Gonzaga remained at No. 11 in the AP Poll, while west coast counterparts Saint Mary’s and San Diego State fell out of the Top 25 after losses to Weber State and BYU, respectively. Meanwhile, UCLA remains on the outside looking in as they wait for their young international pieces (namely Aday Mara and Jan Vide) to acclimate to Mick Cronin’s system down in Los Angeles.
Gonzaga will get a chance to face all of the premier west coast programs this season if they end up playing UCLA in the Maui Invitational, as they have a neutral site game against USC in Las Vegas, a home game against San Diego State in late December, and of course at least two – probably three – battles with Saint Mary’s in WCC play.
For now, though, they remain the team to beat on the west coast despite a new look roster and preseason projections which favored other programs.
Until Mark Few and the Zags fall from the top, if they ever do, they should be given the benefit of the doubt.
Andy hosts the Locked on Zags and Locked on College Basketball podcasts, and serves Locked On in a marketing/digital content creator role as well. He lives just outside Portland with his wife Jenna and dog, Tillie.