A few teams out there have already announced their non-conference schedule for the 2014-2015 season. The Gonzaga Bulldogs aren't one of those teams, and it looks like it might be some time before the entire thing is hammered out.
Andy Katz with ESPN talked about the problems that the NIT preseason tournament was having in filling the spots. Gonzaga, along with Minnesota, Georgia and St. John's were designated as the hosting schools. Each team would have to win two home games in the tournament to advance to Madison Square Garden for the semifinal and championship games.
As Sports Illustrated expanded on, the NIT is having trouble finding enough schools to fill its standard 16-team format. Minnesota has been threatening to walk out, and supposedly both Gonzaga and Georgia have waffled a bit. The NIT proposed one home game followed by three games at Madison Square Garden. According to Jim Meehan with the Spokesman Review, Gonzaga balked at that idea, and is hoping for a compromise of one home game followed by two games at Madison Square Garden.
"Ultimately that's better than what they're proposing," Roth said. It's less than ideal because "we've worked the rest of our schedule around having two home games."
Edit: St. Joe's also has an idea to mix it up, which might still land Gonzaga with a couple of home games if it works out.
The most interesting tidbit of Meehan's article was at the end, where Gonzaga still hasn't found an opponent for the Battle in Seattle in December. The game is a big moneymaker for the school, so it is doubtful that the school would just can the game. But with most high profile schools putting the finishing touches on the schedule, the odds of playing another South Alabama-like squad look pretty good. It looks like Gonzaga might have to hit up the Basketball Travelers scheduling board for that one.
This news all comes after it was announced Emmanuel Mudiay isn't going to SMU and took a job in China for a year instead. With Mudiay, the Mustangs were projected to be very good. Without Mudiay, the Mustangs will still probably be pretty good, but the matchup with the Zags has lost a bit of its luster.
The Bulldogs still have games on the road against Arizona and UCLA as well as a home game against Memphis. Assuming that the few teams slated to be in the NIT Season Tip-Off still stay in the tournament, it'll be a nice little schedule. Not the hardest the Bulldogs have put out there, but a lot more difficult than last year's.