The Gonzaga Bulldogs head off to Portland, Oregon for their holiday tournament, potentially facing off against the likes of Duke, Purdue, West Virginia, and Florida for the PK 85 Invitational.
Game times (listed in PT)
Thursday, Nov. 24
- Game 1: Duke vs. Oregon State, 12:00 pm , ESPN
- Game 2: Florida vs. Xavier, 2:30 pm, ESPN2
- Game 3: Purdue vs. West Virginia, 7:00 pm, ESPN2
- Game 4: Gonzaga vs. Portland State, 9:30 pm, ESPN
Friday, Nov. 25
- Game 5: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 12:00 pm, ESPN
- Game 6: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, 3:00 pm, ESPN2/ESPNU
- Game 7: Game 3 loser vs. Game 4 loser, 6:00 pm, ESPNews
- Game 8: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner, 8:30 pm ESPN
Sunday, Nov. 27
- Championship game, 12:30 pm, ABC
- Third place game: 4:30 pm, ESPN
- Fifth place game: TBD, TBD
- Seventh place game: TBD, TBD
Gonzaga’s (Possible) Opponents
Portland State, 2-2, KenPom #261
The powers to be at the Phil Knight factory want to make sure the Zags at least are playing in the second round on the right side of the bracket, pairing with Gonzaga with the worst team in the field. If anything, the game should be entertaining (if you can stay up that late on Thursday evening). The Vikings push the tempo to the tune of the 21st-quickest pace in the country. That should bode perfectly fine for a Gonzaga team that likes to run the ball as well.
Threat level: Zero
Oregon State, 3-1, KenPom #239
Likewise, Duke should get to coast in its first round game. By transitive properties, Oregon State actually is the worst team in the contest because they just dropped a game to Portland State.
Threat level: 1 out of 10
Florida, 3-1, KenPom #36
It would be rather cool to play the Gators with former USF coach Todd Golden at the helm. However, existing on the opposite end of the bracket makes that rather difficult. The Gators will have to push past Xavier and then Duke. Through four games this season, Florida looks like a work in progress so far. They dropped a close game at home to Florida Atlantic and have largely beat up on lesser foes. Never count out a Todd Golden coached team, however. He is one of the brightest minds in the new age of hoops and if someone can figure out how to vault their team further than they have any business, it is him.
Threat level: 2 out of 10
Xavier, 3-1, KenPom #34
Sean Miller is back in action! The former Arizona coach has landed at Xavier and is attempting to replicate that successful offensive style. So far, he is having some success, albeit, in rather odd ways. Xavier is a stellar outside shooting team through four games, fourth-best in the country, but also ranks No. 351 for 3PA per FGA. Odd. The team can pass the heck out of the ball, however, generating an assist on 72.1 percent of each field goal made. Sustainable numbers or small sample size? We will probably see this tournament.
Threat level: 2 out of 10
West Virginia, 4-0, KenPom #39
Bob Huggins recently said it would be an “awakening” for Gonzaga if they joined the Big 12 and played the teams West Virginia plays every day. While true, it would also be an awakening for Bob Huggins to defeat Gonzaga at some point in his long and storied career. Gonzaga is 5-0 against West Virginia, and until it happens, I refuse to believe that Huggins can actually win that game. Is the threat level below cocky? Sure. Do I care? Hardly.
Threat level: Zero
Purdue, 3-0, KenPom #25
This would be a fascinating game of styles for Gonzaga in the second day of the tournament. Anchored by phenomenal big man and legitimate large human being Zach Edey, Purdue likes to slow it down and try and win the half court game. Last year, it was a great idea, except for the defense was nowhere nearly as good as the offense, and Purdue followed Kentucky’s footsteps by losing to Saint Peter’s in the NCAA Tournament. No one has really stepped up to solidly fill the offensive void left by Jaden Ivey. Watching Edey try to stop Timme would be a treat, as would it be watching the entire Gonzaga squad try and stop him.
Threat level: Four out of 10
Duke, 4-1, KenPom #9
The post Coach K world began with an insane recruiting hall by pretty much any standard. Jon Scheyer landed the No. 2, 3, and 4 players in the Class of 2022 (according to 247 Sports). Off the seven commits in the Class, four are five-stars, two are four-stars, and Christian Reeves is just an “average” three star.
This makes Duke a fascinating matchup. On one hand, they are absolutely loaded with athleticism and talent. On the other hand, they are an incredibly young team with a first-year head coach. Kyle Filipowski has been as advertised for a freshman, leading the team with 15 points and 11 boards. Jeremy Roach never saw a shot he didn’t like. Mark Mitchell, another one of the star freshmen, is third in the team in points.
Scheyer didn’t go buck wild in the non-conference scheduling. Duke’s first five games featured four cupcakes at home and Kansas in the Champions Classic. Against Kansas, it looked like that Duke’s star power would be enough. Unfortunately, basketball games are not 35 minutes long and Kansas outscored Duke 15-4 in the final four-plus minutes.
That right there is the conundrum of Duke. We are all smart enough to know that the No. 1 ranked recruiting class is a boost, but it can also be an absolute mess early in the season. In addition to their seven freshmen, Duke has three incoming transfer, making for a team that very well could be the best team in the nation....in a few months.
That said, what is harder to predict at the moment then Gonzaga? Kentucky might be “down” but Gonzaga looked vastly different on Sunday then it did against Texas a week ago. In a way, I can see a more experienced Gonzaga team dictating the pace of the game in every aspect against Duke. I can also see Gonzaga completely pooping the bed. It is the beauty of it being this early in the season.
Threat level: 100% complete coin toss.