TEAM OUTLOOK The Zags made their 13th consecutive NCAA tournament under Few, but the road to the Dance wasn't quite the same as it had been in the past. It was the first time in a dozen years that Gonzaga didn't claim at least a share of the WCC regular-season crown. However, the Bulldogs wound up beating West Virginia before losing to Ohio State. A 14th straight trip to the NCAAs is all but certain for one of the most consistent programs in the nation.
BREAKING DOWN THE STARTING FIVE Gonzaga will miss Robert Sacre's toughness, intensity, personality and interior defense. However, the Bulldogs will have a potent frontline that will be an upgrade over last season. Few intends to play 6-7, 240-pound senior Elias Harris at small forward in an effort to get him on the floor as much as possible. He has averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 boards in his three years while shooting better than 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from three-point range. Few also raved about the development of 7-foot Canadian Kelly Olynyk, who averaged 5.8 points and 3.8 rebounds two years ago coming off the bench.
Junior Sam Dower, not unlike Harris and Olynyk, provides Gonzaga with skilled perimeter shooting, but he'll need to work on his rebounding and interior defense to stay on the court. Freshman Karnowski should also make a substantial impact this season. On the defensive front, the Zags can turn to top scorer Kevin Pangos and Kevin Bell. Though he didn't score as much, Bell was terrific on the defensive end. His offensive production should increase as a sophomore as he becomes more assertive.
NEWCOMERS Seven-footer Przemek Karnowski is a skilled offensive player, who averaged 13.2 points per game for Poland at the FIBA Under-19 World Championship last summer. Memphis transfer Drew Barham averaged 7.0 minutes per game as a reserve guard and is a threat from three-point range. Kyle Dranginis is a big guard with a nice stroke.
FINAL ANALYSIS Few has a talented backcourt in Pangos and Bell that now has a year of experience. He's got a veteran forward in Harris, a couple of skilled forwards with Dower and Olynyk, and a 7-footer in Karnowski who is expected to be a force in the paint. After a one-year hiatus, the Bulldogs should return to supremacy in the increasingly competitive WCC.
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