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Gonzaga vs. Lewis-Clark State Game Preview: Exhibit One

The basketball season almost gets really started.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-West Regional Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

The long offseason is over and the start of the 2019-20 college basketball season is here. The Gonzaga Bulldogs take on the Lewis-Clark State Warriors in an exhibition game to begin the season on Friday, at 6:00 pm PT.

It is another start of the season with high hopes for Gonzaga, something that is becoming more normal with every passing year. The Zags are ranked No. 8 in the preseason AP poll, the second-highest preseason ranking in school history, tied with the 2005-06 squad. The highest preseason ranking, of course, is last season’s No. 3 start.

The Warriors are going to be overmatched, but as far as overmatched opponents go, the Zags could’ve picked worse. Lewis-Clark State opened the season ranked No. 23 in the D-II rankings. Last season, they finished with a 30-7 record and make it all the way to the NAIA National Semifinal game.

They also crashed the Idaho Vandals party, defeating them 88-73 on Tuesday. Gonzaga is going to fare much better, considering the Zags have won their exhibition games by an average of over 30 points over the past decade.

Normally, there isn’t much we can draw from an exhibition contest, but this go around feels quite a bit different. The Zags return only two major pieces from last year’s squad in Corey Kispert and Killian Tillie. Sophomore Filip Petrusev is expected to go from complimentary piece to borderline focal point of the offense. After that, the entire lineup is comprised of new faces. We’ve all been drooling at the prospect of watching these guys play together, and tomorrow is finally the chance.