The No. 14 Whitworth Pirates are set to tip off their season this weekend. And just like they do every year, the Bucs expect to win. But are they the favorites?
Whitworth has not lost a home opener since 1978. The team that beat them that year was none other than Gonzaga.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and the Pirates aim to keep the win streak going. They host No. 11 Saint Thomas on Saturday at the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Saint Thomas is in no way a pushover.
"What it comes down to is their experience," said coach Matt Logie. "When you have that many guys who have competed at a national level – much like we did last year – they're tough to prepare for. They know how to win in different ways. They're very balanced inside and outside, and they return a preseason All-American who only played nine games last year due to injury."
Whitworth also returns a dose of experience, with three starters and nine total letter winners back for another season. They are picked to finish first in the Northwest Conference again this year.
They lost a preseason game 68-65 on Nov. 6 against Idaho State, a middle-of-the-road team in the Big Sky Conference.