BYU men’s hoops releases preseason schedule
San Jose State and LSU transfer Seneca Knight has been in Provo about a month but has already been impressed by the support other sports (volleyball, soccer and football) get from Cougar Nation.
Knight has posted on social media about his experiences attending games on campus and said he can’t wait to play in the Marriott Center.
On Tuesday the school released the men’s basketball non-conference schedule. Knight and his teammates are going to have plenty of chances to impress their fans against a very difficult and challenging slate of teams.
“It’s definitely going to be exciting playing teams like Oregon, San Diego State and at Utah, but really I’m excited to play every single game,” Knight said. “I’ve never played for BYU before so I’m just excited to go to war with the guys on the team and the coaches and be able to rep the BYU jersey.”
The West Coast Conference schedule was announced last month but it took a little longer to finish the non-conference slate, which includes one exhibition game and 15 other counters.
“I’m super exited about the release of the schedule,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “It’s really daunting at the beginning and the end and the middle is really super difficult. I like where we are with projected Quad 1 and Quad 2 games. It’s the most challenging schedule we had here in my three years. It’s a good platform for us to go see what we’re made of and how we can get better every day.”
The Cougars open the season on Nov. 4 in the exhibition against Colorado Christian before officially opening the 2021-22 schedule with Cleveland State on Nov. 9, the first time the two teams have ever played in men’s basketball.
There are five in-state matchups including at Utah on Nov. 27, Dec. 1 at Utah Valley, Dec. 8 in the Marriott Center against Utah State, Dec. 18 at Weber State and Dec. 29 against Westminster.
BYU has some other intriguing games scheduled, including a home meeting with San Diego State on Nov. 12, at Oregon in the Phil Knight Invitational on Nov. 16, against Creighton in South Dakota on Dec. 11 and the Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22-25.
Cleveland State, Texas Southern, San Diego State, Utah State, Oregon and Creighton all earned spots in last year’s NCAA Tournament.
WCC play begins Jan. 1 at Portland, followed by home games against Pacific and Saint Mary’s on Jan. 6th and 8th, respectively.
Assistant coach Nick Robinson, who heads the scheduling efforts, said the Cougars are projected to play ten Quad 1 games and 62 percent of their schedule are with teams in Quad 1 and Quad 2. Last year, that number was 64 percent.
He added that getting good teams to come to the Marriott Center is always the real challenge.
“As our team has proven night in and night out, we can compete with anyone in the country,” Robinson said. “We’ve finished in the top 25 two seasons. The desire for teams to come to the Marriott Center, especially with the ROC and 19,000 fans, we have a challenging place to play. We’re doing everything possible to get great teams here in the Marriott Center.”
The best teams coming to Provo this winter include San Diego State (23-5, MWC regular-season champ, No. 6 NCAA seed), Cleveland State (19-8, Horizon League co-champ, No. 15 NCAA seed) and Utah State (20-9, MWC Tournament champs, No. 11 NCAA seed).
Last season the Cougars posted a 20-7 overall record, finishing second to top-ranked Gonzaga in both the regular season and the WCC Tournament. BYU fell to UCLA in the NCAA second round and the Bruins advanced to the Final Four.
Leading scorer Alex Barcello opted to return for the additional year granted by the NCAA due to COVID-19, and is joined by rising sophomore forward Caleb Lohner. The Cougars also signed a pair of transfers – Milwaukee’s Te’Jon Lucas and LSU’s Seneca Knight – who are expected to make an immediate impact.
2021-22 BYU Men’s Basketball Schedule
Nov. 4 vs. Colorado Christian (exhibition)
Nov. 9 vs. Cleveland State
Nov. 12 vs. San Diego State
Nov. 16 at Oregon at the Phil Knight Invitational
Nov. 20 vs. Central Methodist
Nov. 24 vs. Texas Southern
Nov. 27 at Utah
Dec. 1 at Utah Valley
Dec. 4 at Missouri State
Dec. 8 vs. Utah State
Dec. 11 at Creighton in South Dakota
Dec. 18 at Weber State
Dec. 22 at South Florida at the Diamond Head Classic
Dec. 23 at Vanderbilt/Hawaii at the Diamond Head Classic
Dec. 25 at TBD at the Diamond Head Classic
Dec. 29 vs. Westminster
Jan. 1 at Portland
Jan. 6 vs. Pacific
Jan. 8 vs. Saint Mary’s
Jan. 13 at Gonzaga
Jan. 15 at San Francisco
Jan. 20 vs. San Diego
Jan. 22 vs. Portland
Jan. 27 at Santa Clara
Jan. 29 at Pacific
Feb. 3 vs. San Francisco
Feb. 5 vs. Gonzaga
Feb. 10 at LMU
Feb. 12 at Pepperdine
Feb. 19 at Saint Mary’s
Feb. 24 vs. LMU
Feb. 26 vs. Pepperdine
BYU Courtesy PhotoBYU freshman Caleb Lohner shoots a free throw against Weber State in a men’s college basketball game at Vivint SmartHome Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020.