PROVO -- BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose today announced the Cougars' 2005-06 schedule. BYU will face teams from eight different conferences prior to starting the new nine-team, 16-game Mountain West Conference schedule.
With the addition of TCU, the MWC's ninth member, the conference schedule will no longer include traditional travel partners for two-game road trips and will have a base schedule of Wednesday and Saturday games instead of the Saturday-Monday format of previous seasons. Occasional games, such as BYU's MWC opener at Air Force, have been moved to Thursdays to accommodate national television. BYU's schedule includes four games on the ESPN networks in 2005-06, with additional television games yet to be announced.
"This will be a very good schedule for the fans," Rose said. "They will be able to see a home game almost every week of the season. Not playing back-to-back home and road games during league play will be a whole new experience for the players and coaches, but I'm sure we will all adjust to it. The changes are a real benefit for the fans."
With the new Wednesday-Saturday rotation of games without travel partners, MWC teams will typically alternate between home and road games, allowing for at least one home game nearly every week of the MWC season. Including BYU's non-league slate, Cougar fans will be able to see a game in the Marriott Center in 15 of the 18 weeks of the season from the first exhibition game in early November through the end of the regular season the first week of March. Including the annual Cougar Tipoff event, BYU fans will have 19 different opportunities to see the Cougars play in Provo during the season.
In non-conference, BYU faces six teams that it played last season in Washington State and USC from the Pac-10 Conference, Boise State from the Western Athletic Conference and in-state rivals Utah State (WAC), Weber State (Big Sky) and Southern Utah (Mid-Continent). Newcomers to the Cougars' schedule in 2005-06 include Loyola Marymount (Los Angeles) of the West Coast Conference, Lamar University (Beaumont, Texas) of the Southland Conference, Tulsa of Conference USA, Eastern Washington of the Big Sky Conference, Northern Kentucky of Division II's Great Lakes Valley Conference and MWC-newcomer TCU.
Northern Kentucky and Lamar, coached by two-time National Coach of the Year Billy Tubbs, will be playing BYU for the first time, while Loyola Marymount and Eastern Washington will meet the Cougars for only the second time since the inaugural contests in 1936 and 1989, respectively.
BYU will be renewing relationships with former WAC foes Tulsa and TCU. The last time the Cougars played either team was in the WAC Tournament in Las Vegas, with Tulsa edging BYU in 1998 and the Cougars upsetting TCU in the 1999 tournament.
After the annual Cougar Tipoff on Oct. 28, BYU will play exhibition games in the Marriott Center against the University of Victoria British Columbia (Nov. 4) and Seattle Pacific (Nov. 10) prior to beginning the regular season. The Cougars open at home on Nov. 18 against Loyola Marymount before traveling to Spokane, Wash., to face the Dick Bennett-coached Washington State Cougars (Nov. 22) on a neutral court at Spokane Arena. BYU finishes out the month against Southern Utah on Nov. 26 in the Marriott Center.
After starting December on the road at the Tim Floyd-coached USC Trojans (Dec. 3), BYU returns to Provo for home dates against Boise State (Dec. 7), Northern Kentucky (Dec. 10), Weber State (Dec. 17), and Lamar (Dec. 20). The Cougars then play Utah State (Dec. 22) in Logan before concluding non-league action in the Marriott Center versus Eastern Washington (Dec. 27) and Tulsa (Dec. 30).
The Cougars open MWC play at Air Force (Jan. 5) in a nationally televised 9 p.m. start on ESPN2, before a quick-turnaround home matchup with rival Utah (Jan. 7) at 1 p.m. as the MWC's featured game of the week on ESPN+. The Cougars also host Air Force (Feb. 4) in the 1 p.m. ESPN+ game and UNLV (Feb. 11) in a 6 p.m. ESPN2 national broadcast.
BYU alternates road and home contests throughout MWC play until finishing the regular season with back-to-back home games against Colorado State (Mar. 1) and New Mexico (Mar. 4). The Cougars host Wyoming on Jan. 18, TCU on Jan. 25, and San Diego State on Feb. 22. BYU's return date with Utah in Salt Lake City is set for Wednesday, Feb. 8, while its game in Fort Worth, Texas, against TCU is Feb. 25. The Cougars play on the road at UNLV on Jan. 11, San Diego State on Jan. 21, New Mexico on Feb. 1, and Wyoming on Feb. 18.
The MWC Tournament will take place March 9-11 in Denver. The Pepsi Center will be the host facility for the third straight season. All tournament games will be televised on ESPN or ESPN+.
Like BYU, four teams on this year's schedule are under the direction of new head coaches. Tim Floyd, who was the AP National Coach of the Year runner-up during his four years at Iowa State, has returned to the college ranks at USC after NBA coaching stints with the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets. Former University of Arizona assistant Rodney Tention is in his first season at Loyola Marymount, while former Michigan State assistant Doug Wojick, who was also an assistant at North Carolina, Notre Dame and Navy, has taken over at Tulsa. Former Denver Nuggets head coach Jeff Bzdelik enters his first season directing the Air Force program in 2005-06.
"We will play some well-coached teams," said Rose, whose team will play nine games against teams that qualified for postseason play last season (5 NCAA, 4 NIT). "This will be a competitive schedule that will help us get ready for the conference. We're excited for the season."
2005-06 BYU Men's Basketball Schedule
28 (Fri.) Cougar Tipoff Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
4 (Fri.) Victoria BC (exhibition) Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
10 (Thurs.) Seattle Pacific (exhibition) Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
18 (Fri.) Loyola Marymount Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
22 (Tues.) vs. Washington State Spokane, Wash. 7 p.m.
26 (Sat.) Southern Utah Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
3 (Sat.) @USC Los Angeles TBA
7 (Wed.) Boise State Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
10 (Sat.) Northern Kentucky Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
17 (Sat.) Weber State Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
20 (Tues.) Lamar Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
22 (Thurs.) @Utah State Logan, Utah 7 p.m.
27 (Tues.) Eastern Washington Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
30 (Fri.) Tulsa Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
5 (Thurs.) @Air Force USAFA, Colo. 9 p.m. ESPN2
7 (Sat.) Utah Provo, Utah 1 p.m. ESPN+
11 (Wed.) @UNLV Las Vegas TBA
18 (Wed.) Wyoming Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
21 (Sat.) @San Diego State San Diego 7 p.m.
25 (Wed.) TCU Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
28 (Sat.) @Colorado State Fort Collins, Colo. TBA
1 (Wed.) @New Mexico Albuquerque, N.M. 7 p.m.
4 (Sat.) Air Force Provo, Utah 1 p.m. ESPN+
8 (Wed.) @Utah Salt Lake City 7 p.m.
11 (Sat.) UNLV Provo, Utah 6 p.m. ESPN2
18 (Sat.) @Wyoming Laramie, Wyo. TBA
22 (Wed.) San Diego State Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
25 (Sat.) @TCU Fort Worth, Texas TBA
1 (Wed.) Colorado State Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
4 (Sat.) New Mexico Provo, Utah 7 p.m.
9-11 (Th-Sat.) MWC Tournament Denver TBA ESPN, ESPN+
Notes: Game times are local to site and subject to change
Announced television games are subject to change
Additional television broadcasts yet to be announced