Washington State Men’s Basketball Schedule Announced
PULLMAN, Wash. - At least 11 games against fellow 2008 postseason participants, the Cougar Hardwood Classic at Seattle's KeyArena and an appearance in the Legends Classic highlight the 2008-09 Washington State University men's basketball schedule as announced by head coach Tony Bennett, Friday.
WSU will play 16 games at Pullman and a ‘home' game at Seattle's KeyArena (Dec. 13) for the fourth-straight season.
"The goal of this years' nonconference schedule is to prepare us for the rigors of the Pac-10 and reveal both our strengths and the areas we need to improve for league play," Bennett said. "In my six years at WSU this will be the most challenging nonconference schedule we will have faced."
The Cougars open up the season with their first appearance in the Legends Classic as they host two games at Beasley Coliseum's Friel Court (Nov. 15 and Nov. 18) and follow it up with two games at the Prudential Center at Newark, N.J. (Nov. 28 and Nov. 29).
Twelve teams compete in this early-season event, hosted at on-campus arenas throughout the country. Four of college basketball's top teams from the nation's most prestigious conferences tip off the 2008-2009 season with opening round games on their home courts before going to the New York metropolitan area to face each other for the Legends Classic tournament championship at Newark, N.J.
Host sites for the Legends Classic were selected from highly-ranked programs in some of the nation's top conferences, creating the potential for the season's best match-ups during the championship rounds. In its first year, the event attracted more than 90,000 fans across five different venues.
Between Legends Classic games at Pullman and Newark, the Cougars host Sacramento State (Nov. 21) and 2008 NCAA Tournament-participant Mississippi Valley State (Nov. 23) at Friel Court.
Following the Legends Classic, WSU returns home to host three-straight games including Idaho State (Dec. 2) and fellow NCAA Tournament participants Baylor (Dec. 6) and Gonzaga (Dec. 10). WSU and Baylor meet in the Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series, while the Cougars' meeting with the Bulldogs marks their final nonconference game of the season at Friel Court.
The Cougar Hardwood Classic returns to KeyArena for the fourth-straight year as WSU takes on Montana State (Dec. 13).
"Our game in Seattle is a good chance for our West Side fans to come support the Cougars," Bennett said.
Following a short trip across the border to take on Idaho (Dec. 20), the Cougars will conclude their nonconference schedule as they travel across the country to Baton Rouge, La., to take on SEC member LSU (Dec. 27) led by former Stanford head coach Trent Johnson.
The Cougars open Pac-10 play with three-straight home games, beginning with in-state rival Washington (Jan. 3/away, March 7). Following the conference opener, WSU hosts two teams with new coaches in California (Jan. 8/away, Feb. 7) and Stanford (Jan. 10/away, Feb. 5), who advanced to the Sweet 16 of last season's NCAA Tournament.
The Cougars' other five 2008 postseason opponents on the schedule this season come from the Pac-10 in Oregon (away, Jan. 17/home, Feb. 12), UCLA (home, Jan. 22/away, Feb. 21), USC (home, Jan. 24/away, Feb. 19), Arizona State (away, Jan. 29/home, Feb. 28) and Arizona (away, Jan. 31/home, Feb. 26).
WSU faces one more Pac-10 coaching rookie when it takes on Oregon State and head coach Craig Robinson (away, Jan. 15/home, Feb. 14).
The Pacific-10 Tournament takes place at Staples Center in Los Angeles, March 11-14.