Early Look At 2021-22 BYU Basketball Schedule For Out Of Conference Games
PROVO, Utah – The college hoops season is a wrap amidst a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, but it’s never too early to look at what’s next for BYU Basketball on their 2021-22 schedule.
Being in a mid-major conference like the WCC, having a challenging non-conference will pay dividends for BYU if they hope to return to the NCAA Tournament. Playing National Runner-Up Gonzaga up to three times is a nice luxury, but they can’t rely on that to secure an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The first two years of the Mark Pope era have garnered difficult non-conference slates, leading to impressive at-large resumes.
BYU assistant coach Nick Robinson is in charge of the Cougars non-conference schedule. He and Pope wanted to create as tough of a schedule as possible this past year, and it ended up being the 65th best non-conference slate in college hoops. What do they have on deck for next year?
2021-22 BYU Basketball Schedule in non-conference
Here’s an early look at the 2021-22 BYU basketball non-conference schedule.
Games against Power Conference teams
at Utah, TBD
vs. Arizona State, December 18th, 2021
at Oregon* (Possible game, not official)
The BYU/Utah rivalry will continue with Craig Smith as the head coach of the Utes. Both Pope and Smith have formed a good relationship in the past, and each sees the value in maintaining the historic rivalry. The two programs are currently in the middle of a four-game series that began this past year with BYU defeating the Utes, 82-64. BYU will travel to the Huntsman Center in 2021 and 2023, with Utah returning to Provo in 2022.
BYU was supposed to play Arizona State in the Jerry Colangelo Classic last December, but COVID-19 derailed those plans. The four-game quadruple-header was rescheduled for December 18th, 2021. BYU will face an ASU team that underwhelmed this past season under Bobby Hurley, going 11-14.
Back on February 1st, during his weekly coaches show, BYU coach Mark Pope said that a game at Oregon could be a possibility for the 2021-22 season. Pope said, “We think —it’s not done in stone— we’re playing at Oregon next year.”
Both programs were going to play in a neutral site game this past season, but like the ASU contest, the matchup with the Ducks was canceled due to COVID-19.
Games against Mid-Major programs
vs. Iona (Per reports)
San Diego State (in Provo)
at Utah Valley
vs. Utah State (Expected game, not official)
vs. Weber State (Expected game, not official)
Mark Pope will reportedly face his old mentor in Rick Pitino, who’s now the Iona Gaels head coach. Pitino led Iona to an NCAA Tournament appearance this past season in his first year as the head coach. Pope played for Pitino as a player at Kentucky.
Pitino told Jon Rothstein that the series would be a home-and-home and that Iona’s “home game” would be played at Madison Square Garden. BYU’s location for the series is to be determined. The Cougars have traditionally had one game played at the Vivint Arena, home of the Utah Jazz.
San Diego State will travel to BYU to conclude the second game of a two-game series between the two schools. BYU upset the Aztecs on Montezuma Mesa last season by a score of 72-62. Like BYU, the Aztecs were a 6-seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament.
BYU scheduled a three-game series with Mark Pope’s old coaching stop, Utah Valley, in the winter of 2020. The first game of the three-game Crosstown Clash was played this past year, with BYU winning 82-60. This season, BYU will make the trek down University Parkway for only the second time in program history at the UCCU Center. The three-game series will conclude in Provo in 2022.
Nothing is official on games against Utah State and Weber State for next year’s out-of-conference, but BYU coach Mark Pope has shown a passion, like Dave Rose, to play in-state games. The Cougars have played Weber State every year since 1980. Utah State has been on BYU’s non-conference schedule each of the last 13 seasons.
What needs to be sorted out on the BYU Basketball Schedule
Multi-Team Event (MTE)
Guaranteed home games
Assuming COVID-19 doesn’t create hiccups in the 2021-22 season, BYU will need 15 non-conference games to pair up with its 16-game WCC schedule. If all the games mentioned earlier in this article are on the schedule, it will leave BYU with seven games to fill out its out-of-conference schedule.
A multi-team event, more commonly referred to by coaches as MTE, will be a key component of BYU’s schedule. Two years ago, BYU played in the Maui Invitational, then this past year they played in “Bubbleville” and secured a win against St. John’s and also took on an NCAA Tournament team in USC. Multi-team events typically take up two to three spots on a schedule.
The remainder of the games could be many guaranteed one-off home games against programs from smaller conferences.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.
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