Gonzaga, the No. 1 team in college basketball, opened its season Tuesday with an easy 87-63 victory vs. Dixie State. On Saturday, the Bulldogs face their first real test of the season in a showdown with No. 5 Texas in Spokane, Washington, that pits two of the best coaches — and teams — against each other in a marquee nonconference matchup.
Storylines abound here with no shortage of implications. New Texas coach Chris Beard gets his first swing at making a splash after a stellar run at Texas Tech; Gonzaga coach Mark Few returns from a suspension after a DUI arrest; and of course there’s NBA talent everywhere, led by Gonzaga freshman Chet Holmgren. Oh, and as always, the NCAA Tournament seeding ramifications of a win — or loss — loom large here, too.
The Zags are the favorite on their homecourt coming off a 31-1 season but Texas, with a remade roster full of transfers and experience, will give them a fight (as you can see below in our staff predictions).
How to watch Gonzaga vs. Texas live
Date: Saturday, Nov. 13 | Time: 10:30 p.m. ET Location: McCarthey Athletic Center — Spokane, Washington TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Gonzaga vs. Texas prediction, picks
Featured Game| Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Texas Longhorns
Texas has a roster primed to be a true contender if its experience and depth pan out and mesh together. It’s just going to take some time for Beard and his staff to get things rolling properly given how many new pieces are being put together in this puzzle. With Drew Timme, Andrew Nembhard and a stellar supporting cast, Gonzaga likely won’t have that same problem. So I’m taking the team I expect to be generally more cohesive in its own venue to come out with a close win — and willing to take Texas on a late backdoor cover. Prediction: Gonzaga 70, Texas 67
Simply put, this lineup is loaded with talent and will not be fun for any opposing pitcher to face, regardless of how it is constructed, even if Pena and Rodriguez are down near the bottom, which still speaks to the star power that the lineup possesses.