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2016 WCC Tournament: Gonzaga opens up against Portland

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The Zags need three wins to keep up trucking in March.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga Bulldogs open up the 2016 WCC Tournament with a game against the Portland Pilots. The winner of the game will most likely go onto face BYU.

This is an unfamiliar situation for the Zags. This season has been an unfamiliar season for the Zags. It is a rarity that a Mark Few led team heads into the March with so much of its future unknown. But, for Gonzaga, that is the grave they dug for themselves. The loss of Przemek Karnowski wasn't avoidable, but the losses to Arizona, UCLA, Texas A&M, Saint Mary's, BYU and SMU were.

The glory of college basketball is that Gonzaga can literally make none of that matter. They are just three short games away from securing a bid to the NCAA Tournament, or potentially the three longest games of our lives. It isn't often that the Zags have this much riding on these games.

Luckily, the Zags are going to get a good tuneup game against Portland. The Portland Pilots always play Gonzaga hard, and that is exactly what this team is going to need. The Zags will have to keep track of Alec Wintering and Bryce Preessley. D'Marques Tyson has been playing much better as of late.

Last time around against Portland, the Zags had five players finish with double-digit points. It almost would have been six if Josh Perkins added two more. What Gonzaga needs, now more than ever, is momentum. Three games seems like such a long stretch, but it is also a short adventure.

Gonzaga hasn't been in this position in quite some time. The last time probably was the 2010-11 season, and the Zags got a surprise hero in Marquise Carter that year. It doesn't have to be a surprise hero for the Zags. It can be Kyle Wiltjer or Domantas Sabonis. It can be Josh Perkins and Silas Melson. Hell, it can be Ryan Edwards and Bryan Alberts. Someone needs to step up for this team in a big way in the next few days, or else we will be left processing a season on what could have been.

Game info

Time: 9:00 pm PT

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 1510 KGA/Sirius XM/TuneIn App

Online: WatchESPN