Gonzaga Basketball: 5 Games You Must Watch In 2014-15

Gonzaga Basketball: 5 Games You Must Watch In 2014-15

Gonzaga Bulldogs Mark Few
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Under the Mark Few helm, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have been known for consistently being one of the top mid-majors in America and annually scheduling one of the most daunting non-conference slates in the land. This 2014-15 season will be no different for Few's Zags, and their agenda outside of the West Coast Conference already has them facing three teams who made the third round of last season's NCAA Tournament.

5. Nov. 28, 2014-NIT Season Tip-Off Championship

St. John's Red Storm
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5. Nov. 28, 2014-NIT Season Tip-Off Championship

St. John's Red Storm
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While the bracket for this year's NIT Season Tip-Off has yet to be announced, there is a good bet that the Zags (who are the only returning NCAA team from a season ago in the four-team tournament) will make the championship round. In their way on the Madison Square Garden hardwood will stand either Georgia, Minnesota or D'Angelo Harrison, Sir'Dominic Porter and the hometown Red Storm from St. John's.

4. Nov. 17, 2014-SMU Mustangs

SMU Mustangs Larry Brown
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4. Nov. 17, 2014-SMU Mustangs

SMU Mustangs Larry Brown
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ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon is becoming one of the primo events in college basketball, and the season opener against Larry Brown's Mustangs will be among the headliners. SMU made an out-of-the-blue run for the NCAA's last year, instead settling on a runner-up finish at the NIT, but the Mustangs look to start 2014-15 inside the top 25. It will also be a fine chance to showcase the Zags' newest impact player, USC-transfer Byron Wesley.

3. Dec. 13, 2014-at UCLA Bruins

UCLA Bruins
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3. Dec. 13, 2014-at UCLA Bruins

UCLA Bruins
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The last time the Zags and the Bruins met it turned out to be the biggest collapse in Gonzaga basketball history. Adam Morrison and the Bulldogs led UCLA 71-62 with 3:26 to go, but Luc Mbah a Moute and the Bruins scored the closing 11 points to win the 2006 West regional semifinal. Now the Zags will make their first trip to Westwood since 1999, when they bested the home team by an embarrassing 59-43 margin.

2. Dec. 6, 2014-at Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Wildcats
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2. Dec. 6, 2014-at Arizona Wildcats

Arizona Wildcats
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One week before playing the defending Pac-12 tournament champs, the Zags will visit the defending Pac-12 regular season title-holders. Arizona returns stars in guard TJ McConnell and forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, but retribution should be on Gonzaga's mind. The Wildcats sent the Zags back to Spokane with their romping 84-61 third round victory in last year's NCAA Tournament.

1. TBD-at St. Mary's Gaels

St. Mary's Gaels
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1. TBD-at St. Mary's Gaels

St. Mary's Gaels
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Even with the premier non-conference slate in America, the top game of the Zags' 2014-15 season will take place in the sold-out 3,500-seat McKeon Pavilion between the two leading programs in the West Coast Conference. The exact date is not set, but the Gaels and the Zags have been going at it in league play for the last decade. But after Gonzaga swept St. Mary's 3-0 a year ago by an average of 22 points, Randy Bennett's boys need to retaliate.