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NCAA Basketball Gonzaga Bulldogs

Gonzaga Basketball: 5 Early Predictions For The 2014-15 Season

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Gonzaga Basketball: 5 Early Predictions for 2014-15 Season

Jeremy Pargo Demetri Goodson
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Midnight Madness may be over three months away, but Mark Few's boys once again promise to be among the best squads in America. Odds are, in 2014-15, the Bulldogs will be perched atop the West Coast Conference for the fourth year running, and will make their 17th straight trip to the Big Dance (fourth longest active streak in NCAA). One preseason poll (CBS Sports) even has the Zags as the No. 11 team heading into the this season.

5. Domantas Sabonis Will Be Gonzaga's Best Freshman

Arvydas Sabonis Rasheed Wallace
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5. Domantas Sabonis Will Be Gonzaga's Best Freshman

Arvydas Sabonis Rasheed Wallace
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Gonzaga relies on transfers, redshirts, and an influx of internationals to restock their program, and 6-foot-10, 215-pound Lithuanian Domantas Sabonis will do just that. The son of Basketball Hall of Famer and Portland Trail Blazers legend Arvydas Sabonis played played professionally in Spain in 2014, and should form a formidable frontcourt with Przemek Karnowski and former McDonald's All-American Kyle Wiltjer.

4. Byron Wesley Will Win West Coast Conference's "Newcomer of the Year" Award

Byron Wesley
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4. Byron Wesley Will Win West Coast Conference's "Newcomer of the Year" Award

Byron Wesley
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Is it fair that a senior who averaged 17.8 points and 6.4 rebounds a game last year in one of America's top conferences is the front-runner to win the league's Newcomer of the Year Award over a middling crop of WCC freshmen? Perhaps not, but that's why the word "newcomer" is in the title. If Wesley from USC does not win the hardware, it would likely go to another Gonzaga transfer: Kyle Wiltjer, who averaged 10 and four in 2013 for Kentucky.

3. Przemek Karnowski Will Continue Gonzaga's Long Line of Dominant Big Men

Przemek Karnowski
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3. Przemek Karnowski Will Continue Gonzaga's Long Line of Dominant Big Men

Przemek Karnowski
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Gonzaga will lose the 14.6 PPG and 7.2 RPG from power forward Sam Dower, but the tradition of gifted and reliable big men at the Jesuit university will not be relinquished. Just like Dower did a year ago in Kelly Olynyk's absence, and Olynyk the year before when Robert Sacre graduated, the 7-foot-1, 305-pound junior from Poland will assume the bulk of Dower's offensive numbers.

2. Kevin Pangos Will Make His Fourth All-West Coast Conference Team

Kevin Pangos
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2. Kevin Pangos Will Make His Fourth All-West Coast Conference Team

Kevin Pangos
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Here is how consistent the Ontario-bred senior-to-be point guard has been for the Bulldogs: he has never averaged less than .401 behind the arc, less than 80 percent at the free throw line, scored below 11.9 PPG, or averaged less than 3.3 APG during any of his initial three years at Gonzaga, where he has started 104 of 105 possible games. This year, his numbers may be good enough for him to finally be named the WCC Player of the Year.

1. Gonzaga Will Make the Sweet Sixteen

Demetri Goodson Baylor
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1. Gonzaga Will Make the Sweet Sixteen

Demetri Goodson Baylor
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Syracuse, BYU, Ohio State, Wichita State, and this year Arizona. Those are the five teams that derailed Gonzaga's hopes of making the Sweet Sixteen in each of the last five years. The last time Gonzaga made the middle weekend of the NCAA tournament? 2009, when freshman guard Demetri Goodson (pictured) hit a game-winning runner over WKU.