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The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Men’s basketball conference opponents announced for 2024

Gonzaga coming back to Pullman
Isaiah Watts shoots from downtown against the Trojans, Feb. 29, in Pullman, Wash

The West Coast Conference released the conference matchups for the 2024–25 men’s basketball season Thursday. Among the teams coming to Pullman is Gonzaga, the in-state foes that have avoided Beasley since 2015. 

WSU will play 18 WCC contests. Once at home against Loyola-Marymount, once away at Oregon State and then home and away series against Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Portland, Pepperdine, San Diego and Pacific. 

Aside from Oregon State, who the Cougs shared the final Pac-12 season with, WSU only faced one opponent on their upcoming schedule in the previous season. On Dec. 16, 2023, the Cougs faced off against Santa Clara and lost 69-61 on a neutral court. 

Arizona transfer Adama Bal gave the Cougs trouble, scoring 23 points despite taking just nine attempts from the floor. The Cougs shot just 33.3% from the field in the loss and it had been the penultimate non-conference opponent before the Cougs began their great run in Pac-12. 

Preview of all 10 conference opponents: 

Gonzaga (27-8, 14-2 WCC) 

The Bulldogs are the team most familiar to the Cougs, as the two teams share the eastern side of the state. However, the Bulldogs and Cougs have avoided facing off since 2015. 

Gonzaga has seen their fair share of success, both overall and against WSU. Since head coach Mark Few took over in 1999, the Bulldogs have failed to make the NCAA Tournament, making it all the way to the championship before losing in both 2017 and 2021. 

Under Few, Gonzaga and WSU have faced each other 16 times with the Bulldogs coming out on top in 13 contests. Two of the three Cougar wins came in Pullman, with the underdogs from Pullman only coming out on top in Spokane once during the 2007–08 season. 

Last season, the Bulldogs season ended in the Sweet 16 to Zach Edey’s Purdue team, falling 80-68. 

Saint Mary’s (26-8, 15-1) 

The Gaels are the reigning champions of the WCC, but had a disappointing end to the season after dropping their opening game of the NCAA Tournament to a lower-seeded Grand Canyon. 

SMU and WSU are very unfamiliar, having only faced off twice since 2009. Both contests were in California, with each program coming away with a win. 

Last season, the Gaels had four different players score double-digits on average, with a fifth player averaging 9.9 points. Averaging 74.0 points per game as a team, SMU had a team full of shooters. As a unit, they shot 35.2% from beyond the arc and averaged 7.6 made threes a game. 

San Francisco (23-11, 11-5) 

Another team with minimal history against WSU, San Francisco, won 20-plus games and made the NIT Tournament last season. 

They were a step below the Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga’s of the WCC but took care of business in all but one game against the rest of the conference. Like the Gaels, San Francisco had a sharpshooting core, averaging 35.5% as a team with 8.6 makes a game. 

Losing their best player, the Dons retained their second and third-best pieces, likely meaning the offense will be similar in the upcoming season. 

Santa Clara (20-13, 10-6)

The only non-Beaver opponent the Cougs played last season, Santa Clara sneaked into the 20-win club by winning their first match up in the WCC Tournament.

Despite not seeing postseason action, the Broncos beat opponents like the Cougs, Oregon and squeaked out a one-point win over Gonzaga in early January. 

In the all-time match up, the Cougs have been successful in six of 10 match ups, their most recent win being in Pullman during the 2021–22 season behind a 23-point performance by Tyrell Roberts.

Portland (12-21, 5-11)

Its been over a decade since the Pilots and Cougs last matched up, but in the 14 all-time games between the two programs, WSU has won 12 of them. 

With multiple five-game losing streaks during last season, the best stretch of games the Pilots had came just before the end of the season. Including a WCC Tournament game against Loyola-Marymount, Portland won three straight games against Conference opponents. 

Pepperdine (13-20, 5-11)

In the first season under new head coach Ed Schilling, the Waves won five conference games and one of their biggest wins came against Pacific in the WCC Tournament, a team they beat 102-43 to move on.

While their run ended in the next round at the hands of San Diego, the Waves had some bright spots, like Michael Ajayi, a 17.2-point-per-game scorer. However, Ajayi transferred to Gonzaga, and the Waves had depleted talent going into the new season.

San Diego (18-15, 7-9) 

A fifth-place finisher in the WCC, San Diego and WSU have faced off four times in program history, with each team winning two games. The most recent match up came in 2019 when the Toreros beat WSU 82-75.

In the Conference Tournament, San Diego beat Pepperdine but lost to Santa Clara. While they have improved year-to-year under head coach Steve Lavin, there is a big weakness for San Diego. Defensively, the Toreros gave up over 77 points per game, including giving up 100 points in their final game of the season. 

Pacific (6-26, 0-16)

The worst team in the WCC last season, Pacific lost every conference game, but did beat Cal, a former Pac-12 team, during the early stages of the season. In Dave Smart’s first season as head coach, the Tigers gave up nearly 15 more points than they scored nightly. 

Loyola-Marymount (12-19, 5-11)

WSU will play Loyola Marymount once in the upcoming season with the two meeting up in Pullman. It will be the first time the two programs have faced each other in Pullman, with their most recent match up being a 1991 contest in Los Angeles. 

While they held their own offensively, the Lions nearly gave up as many points as they scored last season, showing inconsistency from week to week.  

Oregon State (13-19, 5-15 Pac-12)

The two Pac-2 teams have just one scheduled match up for the upcoming season, scheduled for Corvallis, a place the Beavers were far better at in 2023–24. During the season, OSU went a putrid 1-9 at home but flipped it around to go 12-6 at home. 

WSU has won the last five games against Oregon State, including a sweep in each of the last two seasons. 

In the road game, the Cougs won 64-58 behind a then career-high of 24 points by Jaylen Wells. The one returner that played in that game, Isaiah Watts, scored 3 points in 14 minutes of action.

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About the Contributor
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.