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Gonzaga adds Texas to nonconference schedule next two seasons

Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Texas coach Shaka Smart meet after their PK80 matchup, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in the Moda Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Texas coach Shaka Smart meet after their PK80 matchup, Sunday, Nov. 26, 2017, in the Moda Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga has added another key nonconference matchup to next season’s schedule.

The Zags will begin a two-game set with Texas in Austin on Nov. 13. The Longhorns will come to the McCarthey Athletic Center the following season.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Texas counterpart Shaka Smart assisted head coach Billy Donovan on the U.S. team that won gold at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 tournament in Brazil.

GU’s nonconference schedule includes Texas, Arizona, Washington and Texas Tech. The Zags entertain Arizona on Dec. 5 and Washington on Dec. 12. The showdown with Texas Tech is Dec. 19 at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

The Zags also will play in the Orlando Invitational. The field includes Auburn, Michigan State, Xavier, Boise State, Saint Louis, Belmont and Siena.

The Longhorns won five of their last six games to finish 19-12 last season. They shared third place with Oklahoma, West Virginia and Texas Tech with a 9-9 mark in the Big 12. They finished No. 70 in the NET rankings.

Texas was one of the last four teams in the NCAA Tournament field, according to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. He projected the Longhorns as a 12 seed facing Richmond in the First Four in Dayton. Jerry Palm of CBS Sports listed Texas in his first four teams out.

There was speculation about Smart’s future at midseason, but athletic director Chris Del Conte earlier this week told the Austin American-Statesman, “Shaka’s our coach.”

Smart is 90-78 in five seasons with two NCAA Tournament trips. The Longhorns had no seniors and could return their entire roster next season.

Gonzaga has won all three meetings with Texas, all on neutral courts. The Zags outlasted the Longhorns 76-71 in overtime to take third place in the Motion Bracket at the 2017 PK80 in Portland.

Gonzaga defeated Texas 87-77 in the 2006 Hall of Fame Challenge in Phoenix. The Zags edged the Longhorns 67-64 at the 2001 Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage.

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