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Gonzaga’s Mark Few Weighs In On Future Of BYU Series After Cougs Leave WCC

Jan 14, 2022, 1:44 AM | Updated: 1:57 am
Mark Few - Gonzaga...
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Mark Few of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts as his team takes on the Duke Blue Devils in the Continental Tire Challenge at T-Mobile Arena on November 26, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Blue Devils defeated the Bulldogs 84-81. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Thursday night’s loss to Gonzaga was the penultimate visit to The Kennel for BYU basketball as a member of the West Coast Conference. In 2023, BYU will be a member of the Big 12 Conference, leaving behind a series with Gonzaga that has produced memorable moments between the two programs.

Well, count Gonzaga coach Mark Few as wanting to maintain the series, even after BYU bolts for the Big 12. Few was asked if he’d like to see the BYU series continue after the Cougars leave the WCC.

“It’s been great. They are a great, worthy opponent,” said Mark Few on the series with BYU after defeating the Cougars Thursday night, 110-84. “Obviously, the atmospheres are terrific whether they are in The Kennel or down at the Marriott Center. I’m quite certain we’ll have something going on in the future.”

BYU and Gonzaga have met 29 times, with the Zags holding a 22-7 lead in a series that began 11 years ago when the two faced off in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.

Under the direction of Mark Few, Gonzaga has turned into college basketball’s most consistent program. Since 2011 (BYU’s first year in the WCC), the Zags have only lost 44 games. In WCC play, Gonzaga has only had 15 losses in the conference since 2011. Nearly half of those losses (7) were in BYU’s first three years in the conference with the Zags.

Mark Pope hasn’t publicly expressed his plans for a potential series with Gonzaga when the Cougars are in the Big 12. But since taking over as BYU’s head coach in 2019, Pope has always spoken highly of “the gift” that playing Gonzaga provides BYU and the West Coast Conference.

As a member of the WCC, Pope has strived to play as brutal of a non-conference schedule he can cobble together for NCAA Tournament purposes. But in the Big 12, where nearly every game is a Quad One matchup, will there be as much of a desire to load up in the non-conference?

BYU/Gonzaga have always been some of the top games out west in college hoops; they could take on a greater significance nationally, potentially with BYU as a Big 12 program.

The two programs meet in Provo this season on February 5, then a potential matchup in the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas.

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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