Perhaps the most widely-anticipated conference season in the history of the West Coast Conference will get an early start, as the 2011-12 WCC slate was announced recently. As a result of the WCC’s expansion to nine schools, the conference basketball season will begin prior to New Year’s Day for the first time and feature 16 conference games for each school.
Six of the nine WCC teams won 20 or more games and earned postseason berths in 2010-11, and the WCC boasts three of the eight Division I teams that have won at least 25 games in each of the last four seasons.
The 2011-12 West Coast Conference men’s basketball schedule gets underway on Dec. 28, when defending WCC c0-champion Gonzaga visits northwest rival Portland. The Bulldogs made their 13th straight NCAA appearance in 2011, and will visit a Portland team that has earned three straight postseason berths of its own.
One day later, West Coast Conference newcomer BYU will make its conference debut with a challenging opener at Saint Mary’s. BYU was a Sweet 16 team in 2011, and in its first-ever West Coast Conference test, the Cougars will meet a Gaels team that won 25 games last season. That same night, San Francisco visits Pepperdine. The Dons are coming off their best conference season in almost 20 years, while the Waves will play their first conference game under new head coach Marty Wilson. San Diego and Loyola Marymount will each open their WCC schedules on the final day of the year. The Toreros will visit BYU and LMU travels to San Francisco among the matchups on Dec. 31.
Santa Clara becomes the final West Coast Conference team to open WCC play, when the Broncos visit Portland on Jan. 5, 2012. Santa Clara will look to build upon a successful 2011 postseason in which the Broncos won the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament (CIT). One week later, Gonzaga will visit Saint Mary’s (Jan. 12, 2012) in a highly-anticipated matchup between the 2011 WCC regular season co-champions.
BYU and Gonzaga will meet twice in the month of February, with two important showdowns. The teams will square off in Spokane on Feb. 2, 2012, and then meet at BYU’s Marriott Center in Provo on Feb. 23, 2012. Also that month, Santa Clara will travel to Bay Area rival Saint Mary’s for a critical contest on Feb. 11, 2012, in Moraga.
The 2012 Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will take place from Feb. 29 to March 5, 2012, at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
2011-12 BYU men’s basketball WCC schedule
(Dates and times subject to change)
Thursday, Dec. 29
BYU at Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Saturday, Dec. 31
San Diego at BYU, TBA (BYUtv)
Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012
BYU at Loyola Marymount, TBA
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012
San Francisco at BYU, TBA (BYUtv)
Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012
Santa Clara at BYU, TBA (BYUtv)
Monday, Jan. 16, 2012
BYU at San Diego, TBA
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012
Loyola Marymount at BYU, TBA (BYUtv)
Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012
BYU at Pepperdine, TBA
Saturday, Jan. 28, 2012
Saint Mary’s at BYU, TBA (ESPNU)
Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012
Gonzaga at BYU, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Saturday, Feb. 4, 2012
BYU at Portland, TBA
Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012
Pepperdine at BYU, TBA (BYUtv)
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012
BYU at San Francisco, TBA (ESPNU)
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
BYU at Santa Clara, TBA (ESPNU)
Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012
BYU at Gonzaga, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012
Portland at BYU, TBA (BYUtv)
Feb. 29-March 5
Zappos.com West Coast Conference Basketball Championships