WCC reveals 16-game conference schedule for men's basketball

Gonzaga big man Drew Timme announced he would withdrawal from the NBA Draft and return to Spokane for his senior season. 

Gonzaga's 2022-23 West Coast Conference (WCC) schedule was announced on Tuesday.

The 16-game slate will send the Zags on the road for three of their first four games, but keeps them at home for five of the final eight conference games, including a Feb. 25 home finale against longtime rival Saint Mary’s.

GU will host Pepperdine in the conference season-opener on New Year’s Eve (Dec. 31). The Waves posted a 1-15 record against conference opponents last season, and this year's group is composed of mostly first and second-year players.

The next three games will be on the road, starting with a contest at San Francisco on Jan. 5.

After holding a 10-6 record versus WCC teams, the Dons made the NCAA tournament last year and will have the majority of their team returning, including guard Khalil Shabazz. 

GU will stay in the Bay Area for its next game on Jan. 7 when it faces Santa Clara, who went 10-5 in the WCC last season. 

The Broncos lost their star two-way wing Jalen Williams to the 2022 NBA Draft, but still retained several experienced players like forward Keshawn Justice, guard PJ Pipes and forward Josip Vrankic. 

The Zags end their three-game road trip by playing BYU on Jan. 12.

The BYU game could be the most intriguing as it will be the final time GU visits Provo, Utah as a conference opponent since the Cougars are moving to the Big-12 for the 2023-24 season. BYU is coming off a 9-6 showing in the conference.  

The Bulldogs return home on Jan. 14 to host Portland, who held a 7-7 conference record last season. 

The Zags will then welcome LMU to the Kennel on Jan. 19. 

The Lions are looking to improve from last year's 3-12 conference mark, and like many in the WCC, they will have experience as the majority of the team is composed of upperclassmen with only three underclassmen.

After the departure of forward Eli Scott and guard Joe Quintana, look for LMU to make guard Dameane Douglas the focal point of the team. 

From there, the Bulldogs will visit Pacific on Jan. 21.

The Tigers are also experienced but have lost some key players and will look to test out their fresh talent. The Tigers finished last season with a 3-11 conference record. 

After that, the Zags will take a week-long break before visiting Portland on Jan. 28. 

GU will close out the season series against Santa Clara on Feb. 2 in Spokane before traveling to the Bay Area for the third time to play a single game against rival Saint Mary’s on Feb. 4. 

Going 12-3 in the conference last year, the Gaels are coming off a great season  as they made it to the NCAA tournament and won in the first round before losing to UCLA. Saint Mary's also handed GU its only conference loss of the regular season. 

After that, there will be a six-game stretch to close out the conference season that begins with consecutive home games against San Francisco (Feb. 9) and BYU (Feb. 11). 

GU will then travel to LMU (Feb. 16) and Pepperdine (Feb. 18) before wrapping up WCC play with home games against San Diego (Feb. 23) and Saint Mary’s (Feb. 25).

The Bulldogs and Gaels have played in the regular season finale three of the last four seasons, with the only exception being 2020-21 when GU finished at BYU.

The WCC Tournament is scheduled for March 2-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Each of the top two seeds earn a bye to the conference tournament semifinals, which are set to occur on March 6.

GU has earned the WCC regular-season crown in each of the last 10 seasons and 20 of the previous 21. The Bulldogs have won the conference tournament 20 total times, including each of the previous three seasons.

Times and television slots for GU’s conference games will be announced later.

Daniel Fortin is a Copy Editor. Follow him on Twitter: @Daniel_Fortin_.