The men’s basketball programs for BYU, Utah State, and Weber State are tied with the best records in their conferences entering this week’s play.
All three also play teams they are tied with next week. The person who wrote their schedules should get a medal for planning.
BYU (14-4, 4-0)will have the toughest tests this week before facing conference-favorite Gonzaga next week. The Cougars faced perennial NCAA-tournament contender Saint Mary’s (13-4, 2-1) last night, and will host fellow West Coast Conference unbeaten San Diego (10-8, 3-0) on Saturday. Tip-off at the Marriott Center will be at 7 p.m.
San Diego is the early surprise in the WCC season, but has fed on the bottom of the conference so far.
Utah State (14-1, 5-0) must also face the next tier of teams before it faces the WAC co-leader Louisiana Tech next week. Both games will be on the road.
First up for the Aggies will be their New Mexico State (10-8, 4-2) counterparts on Thursday night. Then, they travel to Denver to face the Pioneers (9-7, 5-1) on Saturday.
The Las Cruces version of the Aggies held the Logan Aggies out of the NCAA tournament by winning the WAC last season. Utah State has failed to earn the WAC’s automatic bid only twice since 2005, both times being beaten out by New Mexico State. Last season, New Mexico State took advantage of Utah State’s injuries to take the title away. Tonight’s tip will be at 7 p.m. on KMYU.
Denver is making its first appearance as a conference opponent for the Aggies. The Pioneers are NCAA nomads at the moment, having competed last season in the Sun Belt Conference. They will move to the Summit League next year.
Despite only being in the WAC together for one season, the Aggies and Pioneers are familiar to each other. Utah State owns the all-time record at 54-35, despite having lost to the Pioneers last season, 67-54, in Logan.
Weber State (11-3, 6-0) will also face familiar foes this week. The Wildcats will try not to look past Northern Arizona (5-11, 2-4) and Sacramento State(8-6, 3-3) as they prepare for Big Sky rival Montana next week.
Northern Arizona sits at the bottom of the Big Sky Standings. Weber State will be favored in tonight’s match-up, scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.
The Hornets are a Jekyll and Hyde team: They beat Utah at the Huntsman Center, but fell to Montana, Northern Arizona and Portland State.
The Wildcats must expect a top effort from the Hornets Saturday if they want to avoid the upset. Tip-off at the Dee Events Center will be at 7 p.m.
The University of Utah is the only school in the state that has been defeated in conference play. It is also the only team without a win. The Utes (8-8, 0-4) will have a chance to rectify their reputation this weekend on a trip to the Evergreen State.
Last night, the Utes faced an also-winless Washington State (9-7, 0-3) before they traveled to Seattle to face Washington (11-5, 3-0) Saturday night.
A win will keep them from slipping below .500 for the first time this season.
Saturday’s game at Washington will start at 9 p.m. on ESPNU.