Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 10/27/11

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series.  Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days.  This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days.  We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

11 straight conference championships.  14 twenty-plus win seasons in a row.  13 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament.  It will be business as usual for the Gonzaga Bulldogs as they should remain the kings of the West Coast Conference even with the arrival of BYU.  Unlike recent years though, the Zags will rely on their veteran frontcourt as they go through some transition at guard.

GONZAGA BULLDOGS
Last Season: T-1st, 11-3 in WCC, 25-10 overall
Predicted WCC Finish: 1st

Projected Depth Chart
C:  Robert Sacre (Sr)/Sam Dower (So)
F: Elias Harris (Jr)/Kelly Olynyk (Jr)/Ryan Spangler (Fr)
G/F: Mathis Monninghoff (So)/Guy Landry Edi (Jr)
SG: Gary Bell Jr. (Fr)/Mathis Keita (So)/Kyle Dranginis (Fr)
PG: Marquise Carter (Sr)/Kevin Pangos (Fr)/David Stockton (So)/Chris Sarbaugh (Fr)

Gone: SG-Steven Gray, PG-Demetri Goodson (left to team to play football), SG-Keegan Hyland (transfer-Vermont), G/F-Manny Arop (transfer-Indiana State)

2011-2012 Outlook:
That frontcourt will be anchored by Robert Sacre and Elias Harris.  Sacre is a legit seven-footer who has a solid combination of strength and athleticism.  He showed flashes last season but has to become a real dominating force inside for Gonzaga.  After a terrific freshman season, Harris was hampered by injury last season and it definitely affected his level of play.  He is an inside/outside threat and now that he is healthy, should be ready for a breakout junior year.

The Zags have solid depth behind Sacre and Harris.  Kelly Olynyk is a finesse seven-footer who has a nice touch around the rim but also range out to the three-point line.  Sam Dower is a physical force in the paint and actually finished fourth on the team in scoring despite playing less than fifteen minutes per night.  Freshman Ryan Spangler will likely be the odd man out of the rotation.

The backcourt is where the concern lies for the Bulldogs since they lose starters Matt Bouldin and Demetri Goodson, and key reserve Manny Arop.  A lot of the pressure will land on the shoulders of Marquiese Carter who really came on strong last season after seeing scattered playing time for the first half of the year.  Carter is capable of playing either guard spot and it will be interesting to see who joins him in the starting line-up.

Mathis Monninghoff was a three-point specialist off the bench a year ago, connecting on 45.8% of his triple tries but figures to see a bigger role this year.  Freshmen Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos should both compete for starting spots and regardless, both will see quality minutes right away.  Bell Jr. is an under-sized off guard but can really shoot the basketball.  Pangos is a true point guard but can also score when needed.

JUCO transfer Guy Landry Eli and seldom-used Mathis Keita will hope to provide depth on the wing.  Walk-on David Stockton found a role off the bench last season as Mark Few looked for a consistent answer at the point guard, but might be hard pressed to see as many minutes with Pangos and fellow freshman Chris Sarbaugh in the fold.  Kyle Dranginis is another newcomer who adds even more depth at the guard spot.

There are plenty of options for Few at guard, but it is just a matter of finding out who will emerge in what role which might take some time.  Few could also elect to go with a bigger line-up, playing Harris and Olynyk at the three and four so opponents should expect to see an early dose of feeding the post when they meet up with the Zags.

Player to Watch: Elias Harris
The German born forward caught the eyes of NBA scouts after his great freshman campaign.  An Achilles injury bothered him at times throughout the year and he simply did not look like the Harris we saw during as a freshman.  He struggled with his outside shot as his percentage dipped nearly 10%.  Now that Harris is recovered from injury, he should return his old self and likely emerge as Gonzaga’s go-to player.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/14 vs. Washington State
11/30 vs. Notre Dame
12/3 at Illinois
12/10 vs. Michigan State
12/17 vs. Arizona (in Seattle)
12/20 vs. Butler
12/31 at Xavier

OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#19 Texas A&M Aggies
#20 Michigan Wolverines
#21 New Mexico Lobos
#22 Temple Owls
#23 Cincinnati Bearcats
#24 Kansas Jayhawks
#25 UNLV Rebels
#26 Washington Huskies
#27 UCLA Bruins
#28 Butler Bulldogs
#29 Missouri Tigers
#30 Texas Longhorns
#31 Villanova Wildcats
#32 Michigan State Spartans
#33 Florida State Seminoles
#34 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
#35 Harvard Crimson
#36 Illinois Fighting Illini
#37 Oregon Ducks
#38 Wichita State Shockers
#39 Cal Golden Bears
#40 Belmont Bruins
#41 Mississippi State Bulldogs
#42 Saint Mary’s Gaels
#43 Purdue Boilermakers
#44 BYU Cougars
#45 Kansas State Wildcats
#46 West Virginia Mountaineers
#47 Virginia Cavaliers
#48 George Mason Patriots
#49 Old Dominion Monarchs
#50 VCU Rams
#51 Kent State Golden Flashes
#52 Arkansas Razorbacks
#53 St. John’s Red Storm
#54 Northwestern Wildcats
#55 Georgetown Hoyas
#56 Miami Hurricanes
#57 Nevada Wolfpack
#58 Detroit Titans
#59 UCF Knights
#60 Long Beach State 49ers
#61 Virginia Tech Hokies
#62 Clemson Tigers
#63 New Mexico State Aggies
#64 Tennessee Volunteers
#65 Iona Gaels
#66 Murray State Racers
#67 N.C. State Wolfpack
#68 Fairfield Stags
#69 George Washingon Colonials
#70 Indiana State Sycamores
#71 Oklahoma State Cowboys
#72 Indiana Hoosiers
#73 UAB Blazers
#74 Iowa State Cyclones
#75 Creighton Bluejays
#76 USC Trojans
#77 Weber State Wildcats
#78 Maryland Terrapins
#79 Tulsa Golden Hurricane
#80 Minnesota Golden Gophers
#81 Western Michigan Broncos
#82 Dayton Flyers
#83 Stanford Cardinal
#84 Yale Bulldogs
#85 Georgia Bulldogs
#86 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
#87 Richmond Spiders
#88 Ball State Cardinals
#89 Utah State Aggies
#90 Arizona State Sun Devils
#91 Marshall Thundering Herd
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraska Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes

David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft on the web.

You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.

 

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