The BYU men’s basketball team knows the path to the NCAA tournament — a trail through the West Coast Conference. The WCC announced the 2012-13 men’s basketball conference schedule in a news release Thursday.
The conference schedule features each of the 9 teams playing the other 8 teams twice, for a conference schedule of 16 games. The WCC boasted a strong showing in the conference overall in the 2011-12 season. Five of the WCC teams won 20 games or more and three of those teams secured berths in the NCAA basketball tournament. The West Coast Conference is proud to claim three of the five Division I teams that have won at least 25 games in each of the last five seasons:
BYU, Gonzaga, and Saint Mary’s (along with Duke and Kansas).
As one of the three teams, BYU beat Iona in a historic come-from-behind win,78-72, in the play-in game, before eventually losing to Marquette. In addition, Saint Mary’s lost to Purdue in a close game, 72-69, and Gonzaga beat West Virginia University, before losing to Ohio State in a close second-round game.
The Cougar basketball team plays Loyola Marymount University in the first conference game, Jan.3, at home in Provo. That game is the beginning test for BYU’s attempt to secure a seventh straight NCAA tournament berth. As BYU attempts to win the conference, they will have to beat out the 2011-12 champion Saint Mary’s Gaels and the Bulldogs of Gonzaga, who had their 11-year conference championship streak snapped in 2012. The Gaels have the 2012 WCC Player of the Year and Olympian, Matthew Dellavedova, returning this season for his senior year. LMU boasts the distinction of the only team in the 2011-2012 season to beat the Saint Mary’s Gaels at their home court in Moraga, Calif.
As part of the long-term partnership between the WCC and ESPN, television selections for the upcoming season will be finalized and fans can expect an announcement regarding the full slate of WCC-ESPN telecasts in the coming month.
For a look at the full BYU men’s basketball schedule for the 2012-13 season, visit byucougars.com.