SAN BRUNO, Calif. -- The West Coast Conference announced its 2016-17 men's basketball conference schedule on Wednesday. The race for the WCC regular season crown will be contested over a nine-week span, and consist of a double round-robin format. Conference play is slated to begin on Thursday, December 29, 2016 and will conclude on February 25, 2017.
After a strong 2015-16 campaign featuring four postseason teams, competition promises to be exceptionally tough once again in the West Coast Conference. WCC co-regular season and tournament champion Gonzaga marched to the Sweet-16 for the second consecutive year, while BYU (national semifinals) and WCC regular season co-champion Saint Mary’s (quarterfinals) made deep runs in the NIT. Pepperdine made its second straight postseason, qualifying for the CBI.
Both Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s appeared in multiple preseason “way too early” top-25 polls. The Bulldogs were rated as high as No. 12 in the NBCsports.com poll, while the Gaels reached No. 14 in the CBSsports.com prognositcations.
The 2016-17 West Coast Conference men’s basketball season tips off Thursday, December 29, 2016 and every team is in action with each squad playing two games per week throughout the course of the league slate. Due to the compressed nine-week schedule, no team will have a bye during the WCC regular season.
Four new head coaches will guide their teams into WCC play this season and all coach their first league games Thursday, December 29. Coaching veteran Herb Sendek will lead Santa Clara into battle when the Broncos welcome BYU to Leavey Center in the conference opener. The Kyle Smith era opens at San Francisco when the Dons welcome San Diego to the Hilltop in a battle of the Smiths. Kyle Smith coached USD’s Lamont Smith when both were representing the Toreros.
Two former NBA point guards making their collegiate head coaching debuts in 2016-17 will square off in the conference opener. Former All-Star Terry Porter leads Portland into battle on the road against another former Trailblazer, Pacific’s Damon Stoudamire.
Early schedule highlights include BYU taking on Saint Mary’s in Moraga Thursday, January 5, while Pepperdine welcomes longtime rival Loyola Marymount to Malibu for the first PCH Cup battle to open the books on 2017.
Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s do battle for the first time Saturday, January 14 in Spokane and square off in Moraga Saturday, February 11 in showdowns between the defending WCC regular season co-champions.
BYU and Gonzaga play twice in February, meeting for the first time Thursday, February 2 in Provo and again Saturday, February 25 in Spokane. The Cougars also welcome the Gaels to Marriott Center Saturday, February 18.
The 2017 West Coast Conference Basketball Championships will take place from March 2-7 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
Fans can expect an announcement regarding the full slate of WCC telecasts in the coming month. The complete 2016-17 West Coast Conference men's basketball composite schedule can be accessed via the link above, but is subject to change.