2014 Gonzaga Bulldogs Predictions and NCAA Basketball Futures Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/3/2014
There's no way to overstate the amazing job Mark Few has done at Gonzaga in his tenure. There's always a lot of talk about how "mid-major" teams can make a mark on the college basketball scene. The blueprint for how to do that has been drawn by Few at Gonzaga. Even though they play in a small conference, the Bulldogs are in the NCAA Tournament every year, and they are a tough out every single year. In fact, at this point it almost sounds wrong to call Gonzaga a mid-major.
The Bulldogs are a perennial college basketball power. In his 15 years at the program, Few has compiled a 403-100 record. Gonzaga has won no less than 25 games in any year in the past five seasons. They've had to replace guys like Elias Harris, Kelly Olynyk, Robert Sacre, Austin Daye, and many others. At a school the size of Gonzaga, that should be really difficult. However, for this program it hasn't been.
The scary part for opponents is most surrounding this program think this could be Few's best team ever at Gonzaga. Few isn't one to talk up his team, but he said "the sky is the limit" for this squad.
2014 Gonzaga Key Losses & Additions
Sam Dower is the biggest loss. Dower put it all together in his senior season last year. He led the Bulldogs in scoring and rebounding in six of their last 10 games last year. Dower couldn't quite reach his full potential in earlier years, but last season was a great one for him. His length in the paint will be missed. David Stockton did a really good job in his time at Gonzaga. While he clearly wasn't as talented as his father, Stockton worked hard, and his competitiveness and drive were praised by the coaching staff. Coach Few said, "He's the type of player Gonzaga is all about." Forward Drew Barham had a nice year for Gonzaga last year, and they'll miss his versatile game.
Few picked up a couple key transfers that will help this team in a big way. Kyle Wiltjer transferred in from Kentucky, and he'll start right away for the Bulldogs. Wiltjer is the ultimate scorer, and his three-point shot will be a weapon. Byron Wesley was USC's best player last year, and he is a terrific all-around player. He's another guy who goes right into the starting lineup. Wesley's ability to score in the lane and defend has the coaching staff excited. The freshman who will make the biggest impact right away is Domantis Sabonis, who played well in high-level Euroleagues. Bryan Alberts is a combo guard who should end up being a key part of this team in future seasons.
2014 Gonzaga Backcourt
This backcourt is scary good. Kevin Pangos is a senior leader for the team at point guard. Pangos has gotten better every year in his time at Gonzaga (he started as a freshman), and he played through a tough turf toe injury last year. With him healthier now, I expect a huge season from Pangos. Gary Bell Jr. is a senior as well, and he has been starting since he was a freshman as well. Bell shot 43 percent from long range last year, The chemistry that Bell and Pangos have is a huge benefit for this team. Wesley will be the third guard in the starting lineup for Gonzaga, and he'll get in the lane and do damage right away. Kyle Dranginis is another high-quality shooter off the bench. Josh Perkins and Silas Melson will also get more time in the backcourt this year. Perkins has a really high upside, and he'll be the starter at point guard once Pangos is gone. Few teams in the country have the kind of talent and depth in the backcourt that the Bulldogs have.
2014 Gonzaga Frontcourt
Przemek Karnowksi is 7-foot-1, and he's a big physical force on the inside. Karnowski started coming into his own late last year, and the coaching staff has been really happy with his play during the offseason. Karnowski had double-doubles in both NCAA Tournament games last year against Oklahoma State and Arizona. NBA scouts love his ability in the paint, and he is going to be the go-to guy on the inside for the Bulldogs in the year ahead. Wiltjer will start alongside him, and he's a stretch-four who shoots and passes the ball well. Gonzaga will need Wiltjer to help out on the glass. Domantas Sabonis will play a big role in the frontcourt for Gonzaga this year. He's the son of former NBA star Arvydas Sabonis. Sabonis' game should fit really well into Few's system. His low post moves and passing skills will remind some of his father's great game.
2014 Gonzaga Futures Odds
Gonzaga has the full attention of oddsmakers. The Bulldogs are listed at +1800 win the NCAA Tournament,according to odds from Sportsbook.ag. BetOnline has listed Gonzaga at a much larger +3,500 price.
2014 Gonzaga Bulldogs Predictions & NCAA Basketball Picks
Few has had a lot of teams, but I have to agree with those around the program who say this team has the most potential of any of them. Gonzaga should run right through the West Coast Conference with this kind of balance and talent. This is a team that could beat anyone in the country, and I think they'll be underrated by many come March. Some of Few's recent teams have overachieved to get to where they were. This team could be something really special!
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