Strong faith and a loaded Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball team have led to high expectations for the upcoming 2018-19 college basketball season.
FAITH- Webster’s definition, “firm belief in something for which there is no proof.” That, my fellow Zags friends, has changed. There is proof. The Gonzaga Bulldogs are ranked in the preseason top-10 to start 2018-19. Their ability to recruit, a trip to 2017’s Final Four, where they reached the championship game, and appearances in the last four Sweet Sixteens is definitely enough proof to pick the Zags to win it all this season.
Building a power
The Gonzaga Bulldogs have been in the NCAA tournament, half of my life. For the last 20 consecutive years, March Madness fans around the world have watched this mid-major team play through varying depths in their brackets, including the 2017 Championship game. Spokanites are loyal to Mark Few and his program, as he embarks on his 20th year as head coach of a now elite basketball program.
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Growing up in the small city of Spokane, Washington, I’ve seen the people follow, support, love, and breathe Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball. It’s a way of life that has helped propel the Zags on to the national stage. Success breeds success. Now Few and his coaching staff have the ability to recruit top players from all over the country.
Transfers such as Brandon Clarke and Geno Crandall left their respective college careers, where they had great success, for a chance of winning it all with Gonzaga. Who wouldn’t want to play with the stars like Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie, two potential NBA Lottery picks? Don’t forget, Mark Few; a sure lock for the Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s a coach that attracts good players.
Playing the best
To start off the 2018-19 season, basketball fans will have a chance to see a deep Zags team play top competition during their non-conference schedule. Six of the first 11 games are against Power Five schools.
Texas A&M visits the McCarthy Center on November 15th, just in time to prepare them for the Maui Invitational. In Hawaii, they play the University of Illinois Fighting Illini (Big 10) to open the tournament. With a good showing, the Zags will have the chance to play the Arizona Wildcats (PAC-12) or Iowa State (Big 12) the second day. If all breaks right, the Bulldogs may have a shot a perennial power, Duke.
December starts with a stretch where Gonzaga will play more major conference schools. The Creighton Blue Jays (Big East) December 1, the Washington Huskies (PAC-12) December 5, and then the top-10 Tennessee Volunteers (SEC) December 9.
Gonzaga’s string of big-name opponents concludes with another preseason top-10 team. Chapel Hill, North Carolina is the Zags destination to take on the Tar Heels, December 15. If the Bulldogs get through this stretch unscathed, Zags Nation will see the proverbial monkey removed from their team’s back. It’s been there for far too long.
Faith- Webster’s 3rd definition “Something that is believed especially with strong conviction.” My fellow college basketball fans have given me, and so many other Gonzaga fans, the ability to believe! So yes, the Zags will win it all this season!