PROVO -- After its most successful season in five years, BYU's men's basketball program returns to the national spotlight with a schedule that includes five ESPN national or regional telecasts and an appearance in the Pearl Harbor Invitational.
"We are pleased to be a significant part of the ESPN television package this season," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "I think it reflects both last year's success and the excitement surrounding this year's team. Last season we had an incredible crowd for our late-night NIT start and we hope to have a similar environment for our 10 p.m. ESPN games in the Marriott Center this year."
The Cougars will appear on ESPN twice and on ESPN Regional Television (ERT) three times during the 2000-2001 season. BYU will make the first of it's two ESPN "Big Monday" appearances Jan. 15 against UNLV in Provo before a second 10 p.m. ESPN start in the Marriott Center against rival Utah Jan. 29. The Cougars ERT games include San Diego State in Provo on Jan. 13, UNLV in Las Vegas on Feb. 10 and Utah in Salt Lake City on Feb. 24. ERT games are televised in Salt Lake City on KJZZ-TV -- the Utah market's ESPN-Plus affiliate.
An anticipated 17 regular season Cougar games will be televised in all, with BYU tentatively scheduled to appear on SportsWest telecasts in eight additional Mountain West Conference contests, the Utah State game in Provo on Dec. 16 and several yet-to-be-determined nonconference games. SportsWest Productions games are broadcast regionally and televised in Salt Lake on KSL-TV.
Overall, the Cougars' 2000-2001 schedule includes eight games against opponents who qualified for a postseason tournament last year (five NCAA, three NIT), with the potential to face three other postseason teams, including NCAA Elite Eight participant Iowa State, in the Pearl Harbor Invitational in Laie, Hawaii, Dec. 21-23.
After the annual Varsity Preview (Nov. 8) and exhibition contests with Worldwide (Nov. 11) and EA Sports California All-Stars (Nov. 16), BYU opens its regular season at home against Elon College (North Carolina) on Nov. 21 and UC Santa Barbara on Nov. 25. Elon College finished tied for third in the Big South Conference last year while the Gauchos, completing a home-and-home with the Cougars, placed second in the Big West's West Division. The Cougars finish November on the road with a Nov. 30 meeting with the University of San Francisco, who recorded a 19-8 record in a good West Coast Conference a year ago.
Playing six of its 10 December contests on the road, the Cougars will make trips to Tempe, Ariz., Houston, Ogden and Hawaii while facing NIT qualifier Arizona State (Dec. 2), former WAC foe Rice (Dec. 9) and, after returning from the Pearl Harbor Invitational, in-state opponent Weber State (Dec. 28). The Cougars face Rice at the Compaq Center as part of a double-header event with North Carolina and Texas A&M playing the other game. BYU opens the Pearl Harbor Invitational against Boise State and could face Iowa State, who was ranked No. 3 in last year's final coaches poll, in its second-round matchup. In all BYU will play three games in Hawaii in a tournament that also includes NIT teams Mississippi and Southern Illinois, along with Southern California, Troy State, and host BYU-Hawaii.
December home contests include a return games with the Sun Belt Conference's Florida International (Dec. 7) and league champion South Alabama (Dec. 30) along with in-state matchups against Southern Utah (Dec. 14), who finished second in the Mid-Continent Conference, and Utah State (Dec. 16), the Big West champions. After completing its nonconference schedule at home against Idaho (Jan. 2) and Texas A&M Corpus Christi (Jan. 6), BYU prepares to tip-off its MWC season at home against San Diego State and conference champion UNLV.
"The Mountain West is going to be very strong league this year," Cleveland said. "Utah, Wyoming and UNLV are all potential top-25 teams and New Mexico will be very good as always. San Diego State has really improved and Colorado State returns four starters and Air Force returns three (starters). There is no question that we will have a very difficult schedule in January and February. BYU fans are going to be able to come out and see some outstanding basketball this coming season."
While maintaining traditional travel partners, the MWC has altered its scheduling this year to include primarily Saturday-Monday games with some exceptions for Thursday-Saturday pairings. BYU will play two home games on Monday, both on ESPN, with the rest of its home schedule remaining on Thursday-Saturday. The Cougars will have two Monday night road games at Wyoming and San Diego State.
Including two exhibition contests, BYU has 31 games on its 2000-2001 schedule, including 17 in the Marriott Center. The MWC tournament will be played in Las Vegas, Mar. 7-10 at the Thomas & Mack Center, with all tournament games being televised on either ESPN or ERT.
2000-2001 BYU Men's Basketball Schedule
Nov. 8 Varsity Preview Provo, Utah
Nov. 11 Worldwide (exb.) Provo, Utah
Nov. 16 EA Sports Calif. All-Stars (exb.) Provo, Utah
Nov. 21 Elon College Provo, Utah
Nov. 25 UC Santa Barbara Provo, Utah
Nov. 30 at University of San Francisco San Francisco
Dec. 2 at Arizona State Tempe, Ariz.
Dec. 7 Florida International Provo, Utah
Dec. 9 at Rice Houston
Dec. 14 Southern Utah Provo, Utah
Dec. 16 Utah State Provo, Utah (SWP)
Dec. 21-23 at Pearl Harbor Invitational Laie, Hawaii
(Boise State, Iowa State, Mississippi,
USC, Southern Illinois, Troy State, BYU-Hawaii)
Dec. 28 at Weber State Ogden, Utah
Dec. 30 South Alabama Provo, Utah
Jan. 2 University of Idaho Provo, Utah
Jan. 6 Texas A&M Corpus Christi Provo, Utah
Jan. 13 San Diego State Provo, Utah (ERT)
Jan. 15 UNLV Provo, Utah (ESPN)
Jan. 20 at Colorado State Fort Collins, Colo. (SWP)
Jan. 22 at Wyoming Laramie, Wyo. (SWP)
Jan. 29 Utah Provo, Utah (ESPN)
Feb. 1 Air Force Provo, Utah
Feb. 3 New Mexico Provo, Utah (SWP)
Feb. 10 at UNLV Las Vegas (ERT)
Feb. 12 at San Diego State San Diego (SWP)
Feb. 15 Wyoming Provo, Utah (SWP)
Feb. 17 Colorado State Provo, Utah (SWP)
Feb. 24 at Utah Salt Lake City (ERT)
Mar. 1 at New Mexico Albuquerque, N. M. (SWP)
Mar. 3 at Air Force Colorado Springs, Colo. (SWP)
Mar. 7-10 at MWC Tournament Las Vegas (ESPN, ERT)
ESPN denotes national telecast
ERT denotes ESPN Regional telecast (KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City)
SWP denotes SportsWest Productions regional telecast (KSL-TV in SLC)
**SWP games are tentative. Additional games still to be determined