The Gonzaga Bulldogs non-conference schedule is almost complete after adding North Alabama and Cal State Bakersfield to the slate, Jim Meehan of the Spokesman Review reported on Thursday.
Alongside North Dakota State, the three teams leave Gonzaga one final non-conference game to schedule. The Zags also have heavy hitting games against North Carolina (road), Creighton (road), Texas A&M (home), Washington (home), Tennessee (neutral), and the Maui Invitational on the schedule.
Overall, it is one of the more exciting non-conference schedules in recent memory, and for a Gonzaga team that has set its sights on a No. 1 seed, it is the schedule required to achieve that dream.
It looks like the team learned quickly after last year’s non-conference schedule became a bit of an anchor during March. Last season, the Zags played IUPUI, whose RPI was No. 330, Howard, No. 344, and Incarnate Word, No. 348.
That isn’t the case this year. Although North Dakota State, Cal State Bakersfield, and Denver aren’t exactly household names, they are perfectly fine tune up opponents for the schedule. The one question mark will be North Alabama, who is making the jump to Division I sports starting next season. There is a good chance, based on that alone, they could be one of the worse teams in the nation.