Gonzaga’s non-conference gauntlet added another formidable challenge on Tuesday night when Matt Norlander broke the news of yet another marquee match-up.
BREAKING: Another huge college hoops nonconference matchup is on the schedule. Top-five teams Gonzaga and Iowa have agreed to play each other on Dec. 19 at the Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, sources told @CBSSports. Details ⬇️https://t.co/7DooxxuKLx— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) October 7, 2020
Gonzaga’s original game on December 19 against Texas Tech has been canceled and replaced with an equally appealing match-up. Iowa is ranked in the top 10 in nearly every publication, and top five in several. They have the assumed pre-season National Player of the Year in Luka Garza, who averaged 23.9 points and 8.9 rebounds a game. Watching Gonzaga’s stellar front court battle it out with perhaps the best big man in the country will be a treat.
Gonzaga now has six finalized games on the schedule. They will play three games in the Orlando Invitational from November 25-27, though that bracket will see changes. Both Siena and Xavier have opted out of the tournament for different reasons. The current field sits at six teams, notably Michigan State and Auburn.
Gonzaga will also face Tennessee on December 2nd in Orlando before heading to Indianapolis to face Baylor in what could be a Final Four preview on December 5th. The maximum number of non-conference games they can schedule is 11, given that the WCC is going ahead with their 16-game schedule and the NCAA capped the number of games this season at 27. The WCC is anticipated to begin December 31.
Mark Few has made it clear that he wants to face any big name program in the non-conference. Especially with no NBA going on, there’s a chance to highlight college basketball on a national stage, and Gonzaga is seemingly at the forefront of that.
Gonzaga and Iowa have only met once during the Mark Few era, an 87-68 Bulldog win in the 2015 NCAA Tournament behind 24 points from Kyle Wiltjer.
UPDATE: Jon Rothstein reports that Gonzaga’s game with Texas Tech will be pushed back to next season. That means scheduled games with Texas, Texas Tech, and Arizona have all been pushed back to next season. Their game against Washington will likely receive the same fate, but nothing is official. No word yet on their neutral site game against USC either.