Gonzaga is back at home against the Texas Southern Tigers for the last real home game of the non-conference schedule. After tonight, there is just the Battle in Seattle against Cal Poly, a short break and then the start of WCC play.
I'm running late getting this up, so we'll keep this part brief. Gonzaga is coming off of a fine win over UCLA where the Zags jumped out to an early lead and kept pace with the Bruins to finish it out. Byron Wesly had 20 points and Kyle Wiltjer chipped in a game-high 24 to give the Zags a nice resume padding win for the selection committee.
Texas Southern is in the midst of a pretty terrible portion of their schedule, as the cupcake teams unfortunately have to do. The Tigers are three games into a 10-game (!!!) road trip. The beginning of the trip opened with losses at Baylor and Florida. After Gonzaga, the Tigers close out conference play on the road against the likes of Michigan State, Auburn, Kansas State and New Mexico State. Yikes.
Meet the opponent
Texas Southern Tigers, 1-7, KenPom #276
The offense of Texas Southern rebolves around guards Chris Thomas and Deverell Biggs. Thomas leads the team with 16.1 points per game and Biggs chips in 11.4. After that, it is a very steep drop-off, and probably the main reason that the Tigers are 1-7. As a team, they average 59.9 points per game, which is No. 313 in the nation. They are an atrocious outside shooting team, hitting only 26.9 percent of their three point attempts. They are short, with forward Tonnie Collier boasting a height of 6'8 as the tallest, most consistent, contributor.
This isn't a very good team, but the Tigers also made it to the NCAA Tournament last year by virtue of winning the SWAC Tournament. Head coach Mike Davis spent some time coaching at Indiana and led the Hoosiers to a 2002 NCAA Tournament championship appearance. By all accounts, Gonzaga should walk all over the Tigers. The question is by how much the Zags beat the spread.
What to watch out for
Let's see what Silas Melson can do.
We all know that the kid can score on the dribble, but he has had a bit of a rough introduction into college basketball, shooting 4-of-15in his first five games. After hitting 18 minutes against Southeastern Louisiana, Melson hasn't seen the court too much for the big games. This much is clear -- Melson isn't the backup point guard Josh Perkins was, and never will be. He should see some big minutes tonight, assuming the game gets out of hand early, and some consistent play would do wonders for the young player's confidence.
Can the Zags go for 100?
They've done it twice this season and gotten close against Saint Joe's. Gonzaga has such a severe height advantage in this game that it seems impossible for Texas Southeastern to even have a chance. This game won't necessarily be fun to watch for any hot takes, but it should be fun to see the bench guys get some minutes in.
Time: 6 p.m. PT
Radio: AM 1510 KGA (Spokane), AM 880 KIXI (Seattle), AM 1360 KUIK (Portland)