Not a huge surprise here but Gonzaga has dropped out of this week's Associated Press Top 25. The Zags, losers of two of their last three games, will take the floor again tomorrow night against the Eastern Washington Eagles. Tomorrow's game will be a minor tune-up before this team will once again be thrown to the wolves.
Following tomorrow night's game, Gonzaga will travel to Seattle to take on #20 Illinois, head to Pullman to battle in-state rival Washington State, and then venture to South Bend for a game with #25 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish have been one of the most surprising teams of the season having put together a trio of solid wins over Georgia, Cal, and Wisconsin. This stretch for Gonzaga is basically "Wave 2" of their nonconfernece schedule. "Wave 3" includes Baylor, Xavier, Oklahoma State, and Wake Forest. Two of those four games are virtual road tests for Mark Few's club.
The upcoming four game stretch is perhaps the most important of the season for this team. Now that we are smack dab in the middle of what I consider the toughest nonconference slate in the nation (and perhas in the Mark Few era), the season can realistically go down two very seperate paths. Each game is very winnable but each one, save for EWU, presents some serious problems. Drop a couple here, and the Zags could quickly be out of the national picture.