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WCC Announces 2008-09 Men's Basketball Schedule

July 31, 2008

SAN BRUNO, Calif. --- The 2008-09 West Coast Conference men's basketball schedule, which includes 17 games that will be televised by the ESPN family of networks, was released today by Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich.

The WCC, which qualified three teams for the 2008 NCAA Tournament (Gonzaga, Saint Mary's and San Diego), will return to a Thursday/Saturday men's basketball schedule this season after playing Saturday/Monday from 2005-07 through 2007-08. The move to Thursday/Saturday will mark the West Coast Conference's debut on ESPN's "Thursday Night Showcase". ESPN is the exclusive national television provider of the West Coast Conference.

"We are very excited about the change back to the Thursday/Saturday format," said Zaninovich. "The move will give us valuable Thursday night national television exposure on ESPN and we also believe it will be more advantageous to our student-athletes from an academic perspective and our campus communities from a fan perspective."

The WCC will make its first of five appearances on "Thursday Night Showcase" on Jan. 22 when Saint Mary's visits fellow 2008 NCAA Tournament qualifier San Diego. ESPN2 will also televise both regular season meetings between 2008 WCC Tournament finalists San Diego and Gonzaga as the teams will meet Jan. 31 in Spokane and Feb. 28 in San Diego.

"ESPN is excited to continue our long relationship with the West Coast Conference, especially coming off a banner year for the conference," ESPN Director of College Basketball Programming Ilan Ben-Hanan said. "With the WCC now having a regular presence in our Thursday Night Showcase, college basketball fans will be able to enjoy as many as five games every Thursday on ESPN and ESPN2."

In addition, ESPNU will broadcast seven WCC regular season conference games beginning with Santa Clara at Saint Mary's on Jan. 9 and concluding with Pepperdine at Gonzaga on Feb. 21. All eight WCC schools will make at least two appearances on the ESPN family of networks this season.

The conference's regular season ESPN package will conclude at the 2009 WCC Men's and Women's Basketball Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. ESPN2 will air both men's semifinals live on Sunday, March 8, and ESPN will broadcast the championship game live on Monday, March 9 in prime time at 6:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. ET.

Last season, the West Coast Conference advanced a record three schools for the NCAA Tournament. San Diego, which defeated Connecticut in the first round of the tournament, received the automatic bid by virtue of winning the WCC Tournament, while Gonzaga and Saint Mary's each received at-large selections. On a percentage basis, the WCC qualified 37.5 percent of its teams for the NCAA Tournament, which ranked fifth in the nation behind only the Pac-10, Big East, Big 12 and the SEC.

The Gaels, Toreros and Bulldogs combine to return 13 of their 15 starters for the 2008-09 season, and in total, the conference returns a record eight All-WCC first team selections. Highlighting the returning All-WCC selections are Patrick Mills of Saint Mary's, who will represent Australia in the 2008 Olympic Men's Basketball Tournament, and Jeremy Pargo of Gonzaga, the reigning WCC Player of the Year. The conference also welcomes three new head coaches in Bill Bayno at Loyola Marymount, Tom Asbury at Pepperdine and Rex Walters at the University of San Francisco.

Additional men's basketball telecasts will be arranged and announced by the conference's eight member institutions. The dates and times of these broadcasts will be posted on wccsports.com as they become available.

About the West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 and has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in Division I intercollegiate athletics, with 13 conference-sponsored sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, women's crew, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The WCC is characterized by the stability of its membership - only two conferences have been together longer - and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics.

2008-09 WCC MEN'S BASKETBALL CONFERENCE SCHEDULE

Friday, January 9
San Diego at San Francisco
Santa Clara at Saint Mary's (ESPNU)

Saturday, January 10
Loyola Marymount at Pepperdine (ESPNU)
Portland at Gonzaga

Sunday, January 11
San Diego at Santa Clara
Saint Mary's at San Francisco

Thursday, January 15
Santa Clara at Gonzaga
San Francisco at Portland
Loyola Marymount at Saint Mary's
Pepperdine at San Diego

Saturday, January 17
San Francisco at Gonzaga
Santa Clara at Portland
Loyola Marymount at San Diego
Pepperdine at Saint Mary's

Thursday, January 22
Saint Mary's at San Diego (ESPN2)
Portland at Loyola Marymount (ESPNU)
Gonzaga at Pepperdine

Friday, January 23
San Francisco at Santa Clara (ESPNU)

Saturday, January 24
Gonzaga at Loyola Marymount
Portland at Pepperdine

Thursday, January 29
Saint Mary's at Gonzaga (ESPN2)
San Diego at Portland
Loyola Marymount at Santa Clara
Pepperdine at San Francisco

Saturday, January 31
San Diego at Gonzaga (ESPN2)
Saint Mary's at Portland
Loyola Marymount at San Francisco
Pepperdine at Santa Clara

Thursday, February 5
Gonzaga at Portland (ESPN2)
Santa Clara at San Diego
San Francisco at Saint Mary's

Saturday, February 7
Pepperdine at Loyola Marymount
Saint Mary's at Santa Clara
San Francisco at San Diego

Thursday, February 12
Gonzaga at Saint Mary's (ESPN2)
Portland at San Francisco
Santa Clara at Pepperdine
San Diego at Loyola Marymount

Saturday, February 14
Gonzaga at San Francisco (ESPNU)
Portland at Saint Mary's
Santa Clara at Loyola Marymount
San Diego at Pepperdine

Thursday, February 19
San Diego at Saint Mary's (ESPNU)
Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga
Pepperdine at Portland

Saturday, February 21
Pepperdine at Gonzaga (ESPNU)
Loyola Marymount at Portland
Santa Clara at San Francisco

Thursday, February 26
Gonzaga at Santa Clara (ESPN2)
Portland at San Diego
San Francisco at Loyola Marymount
Saint Mary's at Pepperdine

Saturday, February 28
Gonzaga at San Diego (ESPN2)
Portland at Santa Clara
San Francisco at Pepperdine
Saint Mary's at Loyola Marymount

WCC Championships @ Las Vegas
Friday, March 6

No. 5 vs. No. 8 - 6:00 p.m.
No. 6 vs. No. 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 7
No. 5/8 vs. No. 4 - 6:00 p.m.
No. 6/7 vs. No. 3 - 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 8
No. 5/8/4 vs. No. 1 - 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
No. 6/7/3 vs. No. 2 - 8:30 p.m. (ESPN2)

Monday, March 9
Championship Game - 6:00 p.m. (ESPN)