The West Coast Conference unveiled their new-look regular season schedule on Wednesday. Conference play begins on Thursday, January 3. Gonzaga will open their conference slate at home against Santa Clara on Saturday, January 5.
After an offseason filled with uncertainty regarding Gonzaga’s future in the conference, the WCC agreed to reduce the conference schedule from 18 games to 16 games as part of their Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan. This means each team will play two other conference foes just once. For Gonzaga, they only play Pepperdine at home and only play Portland on the road. The 16-game schedule also means each teams has two “open” dates. Gonzaga will not play opening night, January 3 and they also have an opening on Saturday, January 26. If they wanted to add another non-conference game, like they have done with Memphis, Butler, and SMU in the recent past, this would be the date to get it done.
Some quick thoughts:
- Gonzaga’s schedule is definitely backloaded. Not only do they play Saint Mary’s and BYU twice each in the last 10 games, but they use up both of their open dates before any other team. But, after an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule, this may not be such a bad thing. It should give everyone a chance to rest and develop more cohesion and concrete roles heading into February.
- Gonzaga-Saint Mary’s part one will be Saturday, February 9. It will be Gonzaga’s third straight home game, while SMC will be traveling in after a home game on Thursday. Part two will come on the final day of the regular season when Gonzaga travels to Moraga for Saint Mary’s senior night.
- The team a lot of people might peg for second place instead of Saint Mary’s this season, BYU, will host Gonzaga January 31 in Provo. Both teams will be coming off an “open” date and should be ready to roll. And, not to scare anybody, but Gonzaga hosts BYU on senior night February 23.
The WCC Tournament will take place at The Orleans in Las Vegas, March 7-12. As part of the new changes, the top two teams will receive a double-bye into the semi-finals. The WCC said we can expect broadcast info for all conference games in the coming weeks.