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Gonzaga’s 16-game conference schedule includes single games against Portland, LMU

UPDATED: Mon., June 1, 2020

Gonzaga coach Mark Few speaks with players during a timeout in a Feb. 27 game. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few speaks with players during a timeout in a Feb. 27 game. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga’s 16-game West Coast Conference schedule next season includes single games against Portland and Loyola Marymount and two-game sets versus the remaining seven schools.

This will mark the third straight season that Gonzaga’s only matchup with the Pilots will take place at the Chiles Center in Portland. LMU will face the Zags at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The WCC moved from a double round-robin 18-game slate to a 16-game schedule three years ago when Gonzaga was considering an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference. The change, along with the return of the top two seeds in the WCC Tournament receiving byes into the semifinals, was made in hopes of boosting the conference’s number of NCAA Tournament berths.

The schedule was devised from a combination of 2019 and 2020 NET rankings, seedings from last year’s WCC Tournament and a spring survey of the 10 head coaches.

Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in several way-too-early preseason polls. The Zags finished last season No. 1 in the NET and No. 2 in 2019. Gonzaga was projected as a No. 1 seed and BYU and Saint Mary’s as single-digit seeds by most bracketologists before the NCAA Tournament was canceled by the coronavirus outbreak.

Portland has finished last in the WCC two straight years with a combined 1-31 record. Gonzaga thumped the Pilots 89-66 two years ago and rallied from a seven-point halftime deficit for an 85-72 victory last January.

Loyola Marymount (11-21, 4-12 WCC) finished eighth last season. Gonzaga won by 25 points in Los Angeles and by 18 in Spokane. The Lions parted ways with coach Mike Dunlap and hired Marquette assistant Stan Johnson as head coach in March.

Gonzaga routed Pacific 92-59 in the teams’ lone meeting last season, but the Tigers surprised many by finishing tied for third in the conference with an 11-5 record.

BYU, which finished two games behind Gonzaga last year, will play single games versus Santa Clara and at LMU. Saint Mary’s, which shared third with San Francisco, will entertain Portland and visit San Diego. The Dons’ single games are San Diego (home) and Pacific (away).

Gonzaga is 91-0 against WCC opponents not named Saint Mary’s or BYU since falling at San Diego in Feb. 2014.

Dates for WCC games haven’t been announced. Conference play will open on Dec. 31.

The double round-robin 18-game women’s schedule hasn’t been released.

The WCC men’s and women’s tournaments are scheduled for early March at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

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