As this once small program looks ahead toward the future, they face a daunting list of opponents in the upcoming season. The Grand Canyon University (GCU) Men’s Basketball team, who are currently on their last year of probation from the NCAA as a result from switching from DII to DI, are about to embark on a season in which most games will host a playoff like atmosphere for their home games. Luckily enough for them, GCU has one of the biggest parties in all of college basketball according to a writer at SB nation. This is the famous student section called the Havocs, who not only entertain the rest of the crowd, but provide a large enough voice to actually impact the opponents play on the court.
It will be interesting to see what happens when GCU host not only the Aztecs of San Diego State – whom they beat last year in San Diego by a score of 52-45 – but also the University Of Illinois, Cal-Poly, and the Louisville Cardinals. Combined, those three teams alone went 60-37. It is a very good thing that the Havocs will be at these matches, because these boys will need them.
On the away end of things, GCU begins the season by facing a very highly skilled and decorated program in Duke University. Last season, the Blue Devils went 25-11 and went all the way until the third round of the March Madness tournament, getting knocked out by Oregon. The very next game they travel and play Penn State University who, in the 2015-2016 season, finished at .500. They have a huge following so that should mean great exposure nationally for GCU.
Then on December 14, 2016 the Lopes will travel down to Tuscon, AZ to face the University Of Arizona, who last year went 25-9 and were the talk of the NCAA March Madness tournament, by getting upset by Wichita State. Finally to end 2016, on December 31 the Lopes travel to Irvine to play the UCI Anteaters who lost in the championship game of the CIT tournament.
As for the Lopes? Last season they played in the school’s first ever Division I tournament, which was the CIT tournament, the Lopes got all the way to the third round when they were knocked out in heartbreaking fashion, by Coastal Carolina University.
Dan “Thunder” Marjerle, who is the coach of the GCU men’s team, continues to share his optimism with the students at Grand Canyon University as he looks ahead to the challenge he and his squad must face.
The NCAA ruled that GCU could be invited to participate in March Madness, and in my opinion, if the Lopes can at least go over .500 against the March Madness caliber clubs on their schedule (Duke, U of A, Louisville, etc), then there should be no reason that GCU should not be invited to participate, if they show that they can “hang with the big dogs”.
Only time will tell, and this is the last season GCU is on probation, keep an eye out for this club as they attempt to shock the world by showing that antelopes can be intimidating.