It comes as no surprise that as we look toward next season, one of the big headlines will be the difficulty of the non-conference schedule. One thing Mark Few has stuck to throughout his tenure at Gonzaga is the idea that this program needs an arduous non-conference schedule to be ready for March. While many programs would rather breeze through the lesser mid-major conferences on their way to a pretty looking record, the Zags take on their fair share of heavyweights in November and December. It goes without saying that a major reason for the staff's desire to schedule tough is due to the generally weak opposition in the West Coast Conference. With that said, let's take a look at how the 2012-13 schedule is shaping up:
November 9th: Vs. Southern Utah University
November 12th: Vs. West Virginia
November 19th Vs. South Dakota (In Spokane, Location TBD)
November 22-25: Old Spice Classic (Orlando, FL)
November 22nd: Vs. Clemson
November 23rd: Vs. Oklahoma / UTEP
November 25th: West Virgina / Marist / Vanderbilt / Davidson
December 1st: Vs. Pacific
December 5th: @ Washington State
December 15th: Vs. Kansas State (Battle in Seattle)
December 28th: Vs. Baylor
December 31st: @ Oklahoma State
January 19th: @ Butler
Dates are still pending for verbally agreed upon games against Illinois and Eastern Washington both of which are expected to be played on campus at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
While the above schedule will be a major test for the Zags, we continue to see this program get more big time games on campus. Three to five years ago, Gonzaga was typically on the road all throughout the holiday season. Now, schools like West Virginia, Baylor, etc are coming to town on a more regular basis. This is a great step for the program as there are virtually no other non-BCS programs outside of maybe the Memphis and Xavier's of the world that can get these type of schools on campus.
We'll continue to update the schedule as we get updates but we are basically all set on the travel schedule for the Zags during the months of November, December, and some of January. I'd expect an official announcement from the University in the near future.