Wichita State v Gonzaga

Gonzaga will have a tough non-conference schedule in 2014-15

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Gonzaga has become one of the most consistent college basketball programs in the country. With 16 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and a perpetual spot near the top of the West Coast Conference, the Bulldogs are a threat to crack the top 25 nearly every season despite playing in a mid-major conference.

Scheduling marquee opponents, however, is always a challenge for programs like Gonzaga. It just doesn’t look for a power conference school to lose to a WCC school, even if that program is Gonzaga.

For the 2014-15 season, though, Gonzaga will have a very difficult schedule filled with really good opponents. According to a story from Matt Johnson in the Gonzaga Bulletin, the Zags will have a number of big games next season.

Johnson interviewed Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth and Roth revealed that the Bulldogs would have away games at Arizona and UCLA, a rematch with Memphis at home and a game with Washington State at Spokane Arena.

Gonzaga is also looking to finalize a home-and-home series with SMU that would begin next season and Mark Few’s ballclub is also participating in the Preseason NIT, which will give them some more opportunities to play some big games at a neutral site.

This is great news for the Zags as they’ll get a crack at some of the best Pac-12 schools in the country while also getting some potential home games against really good AAC programs like Memphis and SMU. If the Bulldogs can capitalize on some of those non-conference wins and play well in the WCC, it could lead to a desirable seed in next season’s NCAA Tournament.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.