A cursory glance at the Bulldogs (4-3) reflects a record that nearly is .500. But Gonzaga, which has advanced to the NCAA Tournament 12 consecutive seasons, has lost against two ranked opponents — Kansas State and Illinois — in addition to San Diego State (8-0).
"Those are three really good teams," said Bone, whose team has a 5-1 record and picked up a vote in this week's top-25 poll. "The difference is they've played a schedule that's really tough and they happen to have a few losses in there. They're still really, really good."
When assessing Gonzaga, Bone sees a team that can hurt opponents on the perimeter and in the low post. It starts with senior Steven Gray, who starred at Bainbridge High School. Gray leads the Bulldogs in points (20), assists (5.1) and steals (2.4) per game. He also converts 44 percent of his 3-pointers.
Gonzaga features 7-foot junior Robert Sacre inside. He averages 12.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
Both Gray and Sacre also are known for their defense. Bone said the Bulldogs, who are ranked 88th nationally in adjusted defense by statistical analyst Ken Pomeroy, have improved in that area.
"They've picked up their defense the last few years," he said. "They're able to take it to a different level with their length and quickness."
GONZAGA LIKELY WILL be the first team that WSU sophomore point guard Reggie Moore starts against. Moore made his regular-season debut during Friday's 63-58 loss against No. 5 Kansas State. He frequently penetrated the Wildcats' defense and converted 4 of 5 shots en route to 10 points in 27 minutes.
"I think he felt like he could drive the kid (Will Spradling) that was on him the other night," Bone said.
Bone, who anticipates that Moore will wear a splint on his left wrist for the duration of the season, said both he and junior center DeAngelo Casto (right foot) had "no issues" after the game or during practice this week.
Moore's addition to the starting lineup likely means that Faisal Aden, who averages 18.7 points per game, will come off the bench.
Bone said he likes having Aden on the floor to provide a second-scoring option for junior wing Klay Thompson, who averages 21.2 points per game.
"I felt we missed that last year a little bit when Klay wasn't hitting shots," Bone said. "It put a lot of the onus on Reggie and DeAngelo to score."
Bone said Aden might start again this season, but he prefers to use junior Marcus Capers in that role against the Bulldogs because he provides more "balance" to the lineup. Capers on Wednesday also might be assigned to Gray — Bone said he planned to confer with assistant Ben Johnson in a meeting before making a decision — on the defensive end.
After all, Bone sees the Cougars' work on that end as being a key to winning.
"Again for us it goes back to doing a good job on the boards and defense," he said. "Are we going to be focused enough to get stops on the defensive end against teams the caliber of Gonzaga?"
That also means containing sophomore forward Elias Harris. While guard Matt Bouldin, who graduated, scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 74-69 come-from-behind win against WSU last season at McCarthey Athletic Center, Harris added 24 points and 12 rebounds. His numbers are down this season as he battles an Achilles tendon injury.
"I think he's a tough match up for anyone in college," Bone said. "It's too bad he's not 100 percent healthy for the sake of his team. He's a great basketball player."
"I used to see him and Monson out on the road a lot," he said. "Those two guys were just basketball junkies. One thing that always impressed me about those guys is nothing got by them."
Bone said he frequently tried to discover "hidden gems," but said Few and Monson always were aware of those players.
"I think Gonzaga is in the same boat," he said. "They just came off an emotional high."
"Whether it's Gonzaga, Kansas State or anyone else we play, we try and look for the three-point shot," Bone said.