The independent news organization of Duke University

2021-22 Gonzaga men's basketball preview

Gonzaga Bulldogs

2020-21 record: 31-1 overall, 15-0 in the WCC

Head coach: Mark Few

Tenure at Gonzaga: 23rd season

Career coaching record: 630-124

Home court: McCarthey Athletic Center

Starters: G Andrew Nembhard, G Rasir Bolton, F Julian Strawther, F Chet Holmgren, F Drew Timme

Bench: G Nolan Hickman, G Hunter Sallis, G Dominick Harris, G Martynas Arlauskas, G Matthew Lang, F Kaden Perry, F Anton Watson, F Ben Gregg

Overview: Simply put, Gonzaga was dominant last year. The Bulldogs had a near-perfect season, with their single loss being to the Baylor Bears in the national championship game. Despite this unsatisfying finish, the Bulldogs lead the nation in scoring and field-goal percentage with a whopping 91.0 points per game on 54.9% efficiency. These superior stats were led by junior forward Drew Timme, who averaged 19.0 points and seven rebounds per game. Timme’s decision to stay around another year will definitely help the Zags as he’s a monster in the paint; there’s no doubt that he will be a National Player of the Year contender. Few is also bringing in a superior freshman class, which includes forward Chet Holmgren, guard Hunter Sallis and guard Nolan Hickman—the No. 1, 16 and 24-ranked players in ESPN’s 2021 class. 

The Bulldogs will definitely have enough talent, but they will be lacking experience. This past season, Gonzaga lost Corey Kispert, Jalen Suggs and Joel Ayayi to the NBA. All of these studs played a massive role in the starting lineup, especially Suggs who hit the stunning buzzer beater against UCLA to make it to the National Championship game. Last year, Gonzaga was a very dynamic team that was able to shoot and spread the floor, but spent most of its time in the paint. Given Gonzaga’s large front court with a 6-foot-10 Timme and 7-foot Holmgren, we can expect a similar type of play this year. The question is whether or not the Bulldogs’ young talent will be able to perform to a similar caliber as last year.

Team ceiling: Gonzaga is currently No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll. The Bulldogs will be able to hold this status if Timme has a similar level of aggressiveness this year and if Holmgren and Sallis are as dominant as they were in high school. The Zags will also need Nembhard and Bolton to fill Suggs’ shoes by being quick and creative at guard. Gonzaga has yet to win a National Championship, but don’t be surprised if it finally hangs up a banner in the spring.

Team floor: Drew Timme doesn’t turn out to be the leader that he needs to be in order to energize the young talent that’s coming in. Mark Few faces an out-of-sync roster that suffers from many inefficiencies, leading to a completely different season this year. The Bulldogs will likely be WCC champions, but won't make it through two rounds in the NCAA tournament.

Discussion

Share and discuss “2021-22 Gonzaga men's basketball preview” on social media.