Gonzaga’s brutal slate continues with No. 6 Baylor up next

Nov 28, 2022, 12:59 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2022, 6:33 am

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme reacts after scoring against Xavier during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Gonzaga coach Mark Few always builds an ambitious nonconference schedule, helping not only harden his team for March but also to balance the Bulldogs’ weaker West Coast Conference slate when it comes to the NCAA selection committee.

They’ve taken their lumps already this season, losing to second-ranked Texas and fifth-ranked Purdue to fall out of the top 10 for the first time since February 2018. But the No. 14 Bulldogs also have marquee wins over No. 19 Kentucky and No. 20 Michigan State, the latter played on the USS Abraham Lincoln at North Island Naval Air Station in California.

Next up on meatgrinder: No. 6 Baylor on Friday night at the Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Oh, and it just happens to be a rematch of the 2021 national title game won by the Bears in a rout.

“Every time I see Baylor playing,” Bulldogs guard Julian Strawther said, “I just kind of think to that national championship game. For sure excited to get out there and play against a great team on a neutral site. Those are the games that all great players want: two top teams, a bunch of great players. I’m super excited for it.”

It’s not as if the Bears, who face Marquette on Tuesday night, will have had an easy road to South Dakota, either. They lost to third-ranked Virginia in Las Vegas before knocking off No. 21 UCLA in the Continental Tire Main Event.

“(Baylor) is one of the most amazing stories in sports, from where it was — how low it could be, which is apathy plus all the stuff that happened there,” said Few, who has grown close to Bears coach Scott Drew over the years.

“He’s just such a positive person and force and that’s what his program is like,” Few said. “They really got, not a system but they recruit to what works at Baylor. Their perimeter players in the national championship game were terrific, the ones they have now are terrific. They have size inside. They’ve really got that thing going.”


The two conferences have split their challenge the past two seasons with each winning three during the pandemic-plagued 2020-21 season and five apiece last season, and there are some premier showdowns coming this week.

The three most significant come Thursday night, when seventh-ranked Creighton visits No. 2 Texas, eighth-ranked UConn plays host to Oklahoma State and Seton Hall travels to No. 9 Kansas. The final game of the conference showdown happens Sunday, when St. John’s faces No. 23 Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.


The Big Ten has won the last three editions against the ACC, and with six teams ranked in the Top 25 this week, they are favored to make it four in a row. Half of the 14 games on the docket involve ranked teams, beginning with No. 22 Maryland visiting Louisville, Syracuse heading to No. 16 Illinois and third-ranked Virginia visiting Michigan on Tuesday night.

The schedule for Wednesday includes No. 5 Purdue visiting Florida State, No. 20 Michigan State heading to Notre Dame and No. 25 Ohio State visiting No. 17 Duke. Traditional powers also meet when No. 18 North Carolina visits No. 10 Indiana.


After beating up on other conferences, two of the biggest will begin beating up on each other this weekend. The ACC slate begins with the Blue Devils heading to Boston College and Virginia visiting Florida State on Saturday, while the Big Ten gets going Friday night with Illinois heading to Maryland and Saturday with Indiana taking on Rutgers.


Houston will put its first No. 1 ranking since 1983 on the line against Saint Mary’s on Saturday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. And on Sunday, Michigan takes on Kentucky at the 02 Arena in London.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Olena Kostevych and Bogdan Nikishin, of Ukraine, carry their country's flag during the openi...
Associated Press

Olympic echoes of boycott era as Ukraine vs IOC intensifies

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — A contest that could define the 2024 Paris Olympics is playing out 18 months before medals are awarded. It’s giving the International Olympic Committee a political challenge with echoes of the 1980s. Ukraine fired up its campaign on Friday to have Russia and military ally Belarus excluded from the next Summer […]
2 days ago
FILE -  Detroit Tigers baseball team owner Chris Ilitch addresses the media during a baseball news ...
Associated Press

AP source: MLB forms economic group as regional TV in peril

NEW YORK (AP) — Concerned about a possible bankruptcy for the company that owns local broadcasting rights to 14 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams, the league has formed a new economic study committee that will gather next week at the owners’ meetings in Palm Beach, Florida. The existence of the committee was disclosed […]
2 days ago
United States' Varvara Lepchenko makes a backhand return to Japan's Mayo Hibi during a tuneup tourn...
Associated Press

Tennis pro Varvara Lepchenko’s doping ban cut to 21 months

Former top-20 tennis player and U.S. Olympian Varvara Lepchenko’s doping suspension for use of a banned stimulant was reduced from four years to 21 months as part of an agreement with the International Tennis Federation. The agreeement was reached after Lepchenko appealed her suspention to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The settlement was signed […]
2 days ago
FILE - Britain's King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort meet Wrexham Soccer team co owners...
Associated Press

Wrexham to compete in 7-on-7 tournament in North Carolina

BOSTON (AP) — Wrexham, the fifth-tier Welsh club owned by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, will send a team to compete in a $1 million, winner-take-all, seven–on-seven tournament in early June in Cary, North Carolina. The 32-team tournament includes Mexico’s Necaxa and teams organized by former U.S captain Clint Dempsey, U.S. women’s team midfielder […]
2 days ago
FILE - Manchester United's Mason Greenwood celebrates after scoring his side's second goal during a...
Associated Press

Greenwood’s future remains uncertain after charges dropped

MANCHESTER, England (AP) — A year after his arrest, Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood is free to resume a soccer career that looked set to make him one of the biggest stars in the sport. Where he goes from here, however, is unknown. The 21-year-old Greenwood, who also played for England’s national team, had charges […]
2 days ago
Minnesota Wild goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, right, stops a shot by Buffalo Sabres right wing Jack ...
Associated Press

Support growing in NHL for longer 3-on-3 OT, fewer shootouts

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Troy Terry made his name in hockey with his shootout heroics for the U.S. in the 2017 world junior championship against Russia, much like T.J. Oshie did at the Olympics a few years earlier. Still, the Anaheim Ducks All-Star wouldn’t mind seeing fewer of them decide NHL games. A movement […]
2 days ago
Gonzaga’s brutal slate continues with No. 6 Baylor up next