I know there's not nearly as much excitement about basketball schedule announcement around these parts as there are about football game times, but that won't stop us from passing along this little tidbit: WSU is going to face the Butler Bulldogs in the first game of the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 28 - Thanksgiving Day.
The game will tip off at 11 a.m. PST and air on ESPN2. Or, as it's known at my house, a game that will finish basically right at turkey time. Hopefully you have picture-in-picture or a laptop so you can watch both the Cougs and the NFL.
You'll remember that WSU and Butler have met in a holiday tournament before, with the Bulldogs knocking off the Cougs in the championship of the Diamond Head Classic back in 2010. (You know, the point at which we probably should have realized that team probably wasn't making it to the NCAA Tournament.)
I'm sure this will turn out differently, since Brad Stevens is now coaching the Boston Celtics, and he took Drew Cannon with him. Right?
In all seriousness, this actually is probably an excellent opening-round game for the Cougs. The Bulldogs are replacing two of their top players and, of course, Stevens. They should still be solid, because Butler always is, but this definitely isn't "taking on Kansas in 2012" territory. This is the kind of nonconference game you want on your schedule. And if you really, really like to dream, Butler is part of the new Big East, so it will be a help to the RPI, should a miracle ensue in the course of next season.
The Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., is the latest holiday tournament for the Cougars, and it also features Oklahoma State, Purdue, Memphis, LSU, Siena and St. Joseph's. Although this press release touts the presence of a "bracket," it's actually unclear who the Cougars will play in the semifinals should they win. My guess would be the winner of Oklahoma State/Purdue, who play the first game of the tournament right before WSU/Butler.
Maybe it's a surprise. Who doesn't like surprises?
As for the rest of the schedule, it appears nothing else has been released. For those of you waiting with baited breath for just when WSU will be taking on Idaho and Eastern Washington and Big South Directional State, we'll pass it along when we know something.