Similar to California Baptist, Grand Canyon won’t travel outside of the state of Arizona very much during non-conference play. The ‘Lopes will play nine of their 14 non-conference games at GCU Arena and another just down street at Talking Stick Arena.
GCU recently added one final game to the schedule, Nov. 13 at San Diego State. The ‘Lopes also travel to Albuquerque to take on New Mexico on Dec. 17.
Head coach Dan Majerle will take his squad to the U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam Nov. 22-25. The ‘Lopes will face Valparaiso in the opening game. Other teams in the field are Fordham, Nevada, Illinois State, Cincinnati, Bowling Green and Western Kentucky.
The lone Power 5 Conference opponent on GCU’s schedule is Illinois out of the Big Ten Conference. GCU hosts the Illini on Nov. 8.
GCU also hosts Liberty University on Dec. 8 in the Jerry Colangelo Classic. Technically it’s not a home game for the ‘Lopes but considering Talking Stick Arena is in Phoenix, it’s pretty close to one. Liberty finished the 2018-19 season 29-7 and earned a trip to the NCAA Tournament as a 12-seed. The Flames upended SEC foe Mississippi State in the first round before losing to ACC foe Virginia Tech in the second round.
Purdue Fort Wayne is the GCU opponent for the WAC/Summit League Challenge. The Mastodons were 18-15 a season ago and got throttled by UMKC in the WAC/Summit League Challenge.
One other interesting game on the ‘Lopes non-conference slate is against Northern Iowa. The Panthers come to GCU Arena on Dec. 12. And while Northern Iowa didn’t have one of its better years in 2018-19, this remains an intriguing game for GCU for a couple of reasons. One of which is the Panthers compete in the Missouri Valley Conference, a mid-major that is similar to the WAC. A win by GCU will impact the rankings of both conferences. Although the WAC won’t be a two-bid league, it is always good to keep moving up the conference rankings list.
Similar to California Baptist, GCU should begin WAC play on Jan. 4 with a solid record out of non-conference play. GCU should finish non-conference play with an 11-3 record depending on who they play in the Paradise Jam. However, the ‘Lopes have a lot returning from the 2018-19 season and some other pieces who are eligible after sitting out a year due to transfer rules. In all honesty, it might be Dan Majerle’s best team yet. And with all the home games to start the season, GCU will go into WAC play with a winning record.