After a season that saw them fall in the Elite Eight to the Duke Blue Devils, the Gonzaga Bulldogs will be the heavy favorite in the West Coast Conference heading into 2015-16.
Gonzaga will return leading scorer Kyle Wiltjer, as well as talented big-men Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis. The loss of Kevin Pangos will be tough, but these three players alone boast enough talent to carry this team to the Final Four.
Several players will be hoping to step up and fill Pangos’ role, but I think the real key to the way this team flows on offense will be the success or failure or redshirt freshman Josh Perkins. He looked extremely good in the few games he played and could be just what this team needs at the guard position to take them to the next level.
In non-conference play, Gonzaga will face tough opponents like the Washington Huskies and Pittsburgh Panthers on a neutral court, but will get big-name teams like the Arizona Wildcats and UCLA Bruins on their own floor. If the Bulldogs can win over Arizona, then they have the potential to go the entire season undefeated.
Like I just implied, Gonzaga should run away with the WCC. The BYU Cougars are a good team, but the loss of Tyler Haws takes some of the sting out of their offense. At least on paper, the WCC looks to be teams fighting for second place.
Expect big things from the Bulldogs, as Gonzaga is a legitimate national title contender. The Pangos loss is huge in terms of team flow, but there are very few coaches in the history of college basketball as talented as Mark Few when it comes to coaching team basketball. An exciting season is in store for both the Bulldogs and their fans.