Who has the cooler Bulldog mascot, Gonzaga or Yale? Easy answer.
The Zags may have won its last five season openers by an average of 31.5 PPG but Yale is not an ideal team to open up the 2023-2024 campaign with. Yale is the favorite to win the Ivy League after returning an experienced group from last season (nearly 75% of its scoring output is coming back). To be exact, The Bulldogs returns four double-figure scorers from a 21-win squad last season. A win for Gonzaga over Yale could be a big piece to their NCAA tournament resume down the road.
How did this matchup come about?
Mark Few said that when John Calipari and himself scheduled the first Gonzaga-Kentucky game so late last summer, The Zags were scheduled to play James Jones and Yale on that day. So because of that, it was moved to November 10th, 2023.
Yale’s record (2022-2023) -
21-8 (10-4) *lost to Princeton in the 2023 Ivy League Championship (Tigers went on to the Sweet 16)
Key stats (2022-2023) -
75.8 PPG (2nd in Ivy)
47.7 FG% (1st in Ivy)
36.1 3P% (1st in Ivy)
69.4 FT% (6th in Ivy)
37.8 RPG (2nd in Ivy)
14.6 APG (3rd in Ivy)
6.4 SPG (5th in Ivy)
4.1 BPG (1st in Ivy)
11.2 TO (1st in Ivy)
KenPom rankings (2023-2024) -
107.4 adjusted offensive efficiency (#61)
97.4 adjusted defensive efficiency (#83)
Key player to watch for -
Matt Knowling (senior, forward): 13.6 PPG on 62.5 FG%, 4.8 RPG, 2.4 APG
Knowling just returned to practice last week after injuring his ankle during the preseason. Coach James Jones said he will be in the lineup for Yale against Gonzaga.
He sets the pace for what is a balanced attack by the Bulldogs. Knowling brings the most experience/leadership to this program and lives by the way of Yale basketball. Defends, rebounds, and shares the ball. He looks to be a more improved scorer after the offseason and is expected to be one of the Ivy League’s best players during its upcoming campaign.
Fun fact of the day? Gonzaga hasn’t lost a season opener since November 16th, 2001 @ #3 Illinois. Something to think about.
Arden Cravalho is a Gonzaga University graduate from the Bay Area... Follow him on Twitter @a_cravalho