A game against San Diego State wasn't necessarily what Gonzaga coach Mark Few signed up for at the CBE Classic.
The team slated to play the Zags at the Kennel in the regional round does not advance to play in the championship round in Kansas City no matter the result, so it was thought that they would get an easy home game.
But with San Diego State having trouble scheduling, Aztecs coach Steve Fisher decided to take his team to Spokane. For that, college basketball fans get a great match-up that pits an established conference power against an up-and-coming one picked to win the Mountain West.
For Few, he didn't originally have this in mind.
"It's really crazy," he said last week. "We got thrown a real curveball when they added San Diego State to the CBE. I don’t think we were expecting that. That really took our schedule and put it over the top.
"When you sign up for one of those situations, you sign up for two guarantee games at home, and you usually move on to play. You're usually not looking to get a top-20 team in here. I think they're all of that and probably a little bit more. They’re probably very far along this time of year. They’re primed to have not a good season, but a great season. They’re certainly capable of winning their conference and advancing very deep in the NCAA tournament. They’re athletic, versatile, and have added shooters."
Still, the game provides an early opportunity for Gonzaga to show the nation where it stands this season. Are the Zags ready to make a Final Four run? If the rack up wins this season with a tough schedule that includes Kansas State, Illinois, Baylor among others, they deserve a high seed in the NCAA tournament.
"Lot of tough, tough games," Few said. "Hopefully during that we’ll sense there’s a great opportunity there to accrue some good wins that will help our résumé in March."