Most of the news when it comes to the Gonzaga men’s basketball program at the current time is the possibility of the perennial national title contenders pondering a jump to the Big 12. Before that happens, the Bulldogs will go after an 11th consecutive West Coast Conference championship.
With three players, including national player of the year candidate Drew Timme, withdrawing their names from consideration for the 2022 NBA Draft, it was clear that the Bulldogs were going to be one of the top national title contenders once again.
Julian Strawther and Rasir Bolton also returned to Gonzaga after originally declaring for the draft so it is no surprise to see Gonzaga coming in at No. 2 in the BetUS countdown of the top 25 men’s college basketball teams in the country.
Add in a pair of talented transfers and this is not going to be a fun team to have to deal with during the upcoming season.
When looking at the college basketball playoff odds, Gonzaga (+850) is tied with North Carolina and Kentucky for the best odds to win the national title.
Gonzaga came in at No. 2 in both the Associated Press and Coaches poll. The Bulldogs picked up 12 first-place votes in the AP poll and five in the Coaches poll.
Gonzaga was picked to win the WCC title once again.
- 2021-22 record: 28-4
- 2021-22 WCC Record: 13-1
- Coach: Mark Few
- Odds to win national title: +850
Timme can do a little bit of everything as he already has more than 1,500 points, 600 rebounds and 200 assists during his first three seasons at Gonzaga. He was not highly sought after by NBA teams so he will get another chance to try to leave Gonzaga to a national title. He averaged 27.3 points in three NCAA tournament games.
Only North Carolina’s Armando Bacot and Oscar Tshiebwe have better odds to be named the national player of the year according to the Las Vegas odds.
Strawther and Bolton combined for 23 points and 7.8 rebounds per game and don’t be surprised to see those numbers go up.
The Bulldogs will need to replace Chet Holmgren and Andrew Nembhard, who were selected in the draft. Holmgren averaged 14.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.7 blocked shots per game as a freshman. He was the No. 2 overall selection in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Nembhard led Gonzaga with averages of 5.8 assists and 1.6 steals to go with 11.6 points per game and he is off to a strong start in his professional career.
Anton Watson (7.3 points, 4.7 rebounds), Nolan Hickman, Hunter Sallis and Ben Gregg are also back for the Bulldogs.
— Gonzaga Basketball (@ZagMBB) November 3, 2022
Smith was one of the top-rated transfers in the country. He averaged 19.9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3 assists as a redshirt sophomore at Chattanooga while Reid averaged 6.3 points and 4.3 rebounds as a freshman at LSU.
Gonzaga Bulldogs Outlook
Things will look a little different without the Holmgren-Timme duo leading Gonzaga. Timme will still be the focus on the offense, but he will have plenty of help.
Smith connected on 41% of his 3-pointers at Chattanooga a season ago so he will help give the Zags another scorer from the perimeter. He is just one of the reasons why Gonzaga leads the way according to the college basketball betting lines in the odds to reach the Final Four as the Bulldogs are priced at +250 to be a part of college basketball’s biggest stage.
Facing Michigan State, Texas, Kentucky, either Purdue or West Virginia, Baylor, Washington and Alabama, the Bulldogs will be tested in the early portion of the season. The question is whether the WCC schedule prepares Gonzaga for the rigors of the NCAA tournament?
After playing just 7.2 minutes per game as a freshman, Dominick Harris played 12 minutes in the most recent exhibition. Harris and Reid combined for 39 points and 20 rebounds in the first two tune-up games.
Something of interest to those who bet online, Gonzaga was 2-7-1 against the spread in the last 10 games of the 2021-22 season.
2022-23 Gonzaga Schedule
- Season opener: vs North Florida, Nov. 7, 6 p.m.
- WCC opener: vs Pepperdinei, Dec. 31, 2 p.m.
Other Games to Watch
- vs Michigan State (at San Diego), Nov. 11, 3:30 p.m. ET
- at Texas, Nov. 16, 6:30 p.m.
- vs Kentucky, Nov. 20, 4:30 p.m.
- vs Purdue/West Virginia (at Portland, Ore.), Nov. 25, time TBA
- vs Baylor (at Sioux Falls, S.D.), Dec. 2, time TBA
- vs Kent State, Dec. 5, 6 p.m.
- vs Washington, Dec. 12, 6 p.m.
- vs Alabama (at Birmingham, Ala.), Dec. 17, 10 a.m.
- vs Montana, Dec. 20, 6 p.m.
- at San Francisco, Jan. 5, 8 p.m.
- at Santa Clara, Jan. 7, 7 p.m.
- at Brigham Young, Jan. 12, 6:30 p.m.
- vs Portland, Jan. 14, 7 p.m.
- at Portland, Jan. 28, 4 p.m.
- vs Santa Clara, Feb. 2. 8 p.m.
- at Saint Mary’s, Feb. 4, 7 or 7:30 p.m.
- vs San Francisco, Feb. 9, 6 p.m.
- vs Brigham Young, Feb. 11, 7 p.m.
- vs Saint Mary’s, Feb. 25, 7 p.m.