Aug. 17, 2011
PULLMAN, Wash. - At least sixteen games against 2011 postseason tournament participants and a trip to the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif., highlight the 2011-12 Washington State University men's basketball schedule, as announced by head coach Ken Bone, Wednesday.
WSU will play 12 games in Pullman, five in nonconference action and seven in Pac-12 play, along with `home' games at Spokane Arena and Seattle's KeyArena.
"Each of my previous two years at Washington State we have put together a solid schedule, and I believe this season is no different," WSU head coach Ken Bonesaid. "Many of our games will be played in the Pacific Northwest, which I think is great for Cougar fans. I'm excited to get back to Seattle for the Cougar Hardwood Classic and to be able to open up Pac-12 play in Spokane, giving our fans all over the state an opportunity to catch Washington State basketball."
The Cougars open up the season it what has recently been one of the biggest games on their schedule, heading north to Spokane to take on Gonzaga, Monday, Nov. 14. WSU will open its home season Thursday, Nov. 17 hosting Sacramento State. This marks the first time since 2006-07 that the Cougars will not open the season at home and just the second time in eight years. It's the first time they will open the season on an opponents' home court since 1999-2000 when the Cougars fell at Nevada 80-55. In both 2006-07 and 2003-04 WSU opened up at tournaments, while it hosted Colorado State at the Spokane Arena in its first game of the 2001-02 season.
Washington State packs up and hits the road for its next four games beginning at Portland, Nov. 20. The Cougars and Pilots met last season at KeyArena in the Cougar Hardwood Classic, with WSU taking the 84-68 victory. For the Thanksgiving holiday WSU will participate in the 76 Classic at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif. (Nov. 24, 25 and 27), opening against Oklahoma (Nov. 24) for the first meeting between the two teams. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face-off in a championship match Sunday, Nov. 27. The fifth annual early season multi-team event also includes Boston College, New Mexico, Saint Louis, Santa Clara, UC Riverside, and Villanova.
Five of the eight-team field reached the 2011 postseason. Villanova advanced to the NCAA Championship second round, while Boston College and New Mexico earned NIT berths, each advancing to the second round. Santa Clara won the title game of the College Insider Tournament. The Cougars will face either New Mexico or Santa Clara in their second game of the tournament.
"We're excited to be a part of the 76 Classic put on by ESPN," Bone said. "Like the Diamond Head Classic last season, this tournament gives us a great opportunity to face high-caliber opponents while gaining national exposure."
The Cougars return home for back-to-back games hosting Grambling (Nov. 30) and Eastern Washington (Dec. 3). The Eagles feature first-year head coach Jim Hayford and former WSU basketball standout Craig Ehlo as an assistant coach. Four days later WSU makes the short trip across the border to take on Idaho in Moscow (Dec. 7), before hosting Santa Clara in Pullman Sunday, Dec. 11. Last season the Broncos and Cougars went into overtime before WSU came out with the 85-79 victory beginning its 14-day, six-game road trip. The two teams may be participating in a rematch as they could meet in the 76 Classic over Thanksgiving.
After a week off from games for finals, WSU takes to the court again Sunday, Dec. 18 hosting Western Oregon at Beasley Coliseum. The two teams have met twice, both meetings during the 1935-36 season as the Cougars hold a 2-0 advantage. That game is the last chance for fans to see Washington State in Pullman until Jan. 19, 2012.
WSU closes out its nonconference season at the Cougar Hardwood Classic, going up against Pepperdine, Thursday, Dec. 22. The two teams are tied in the all-time series 2-2 and the Cougars won the last meeting 82-77, Dec. 13, 1986. WSU is undefeated in the CHC, holding a 6-0 mark in the annual game.
"I believe our nonconference schedule will help get us ready for the Pac-12," Bone said. "It gives our news guys, especially, a chance to play a variety of teams at home, on the road and in neutral-site settings, which I think will help prepare them for the second half of the season. We are excited about the addition Colorado and Utah to the Pac-12 and believe the league will be highly competitive once again."
The Cougars open the Pac-12 era Thursday, Dec. 29 in Spokane hosting 2011 College Basketball Invitational (CBI) Champion, Oregon (away, Feb. 11), followed by Oregon State Dec. 31 (away, Feb. 9) at Spokane Arena. WSU has played a game at Spokane Arena 14 of the last 15 seasons, including 12 conference games.
WSU will quickly get acquainted with Utah and Colorado as it heads to Salt Lake City to take on the Utes Thursday, Jan. 5, then on to Boulder, Colo. to face the Buffaloes, Saturday, Jan. 7. Last season Colorado advanced to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT) Championship semifinals along with WSU, falling to Alabama at Madison Square Garden. The road games are the only meetings between WSU and both Utah and Colorado of the Pac-12 season. The Cougars make it six games in a row away from Pullman as they head to Seattle to take on 2011 Pac-10 Tournament Champion and NCAA Tournament participant-Washington, Sunday, Jan. 15. Four of those six games away will be played in the state of Washington.
The Cougars host their first true home conference game of the season at Beasley Coliseum in January as Stanford (Jan. 19) and California (Jan. 21), who participated in the NIT last season, come to town in their only meetings with the Cardinal and Golden Bears of the Pac-12 season. WSU makes its trip to the dessert to take on defending Pac-10 Champion Arizona, which advanced to the `Elite Eight' of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, Thursday, Jan. 26 (home, Feb. 16) and Arizona State Jan. 28 (home, Feb. 18). WSU wraps up the first round of league play hosting NCAA Tournament participants USC (Feb. 2) and UCLA (Feb. 4).
Washington State will honor its seniors Saturday, Feb. 25 as Washington comes to town before concluding the Pac-12 season in Los Angeles to take on UCLA (March 1) and USC (March 3). The Pac-12 Tournament will take place March 7-10 at Staples Center, also in L.A.