Washington State basketball released their non-conference schedule earlier this month. Outside of the annual matchup with Gonzaga and maybe a game against UTEP, there weren't a lot of flashy games against big name teams that stood out. The only games left out of initial release were the games that were apart of WSU's preseason tournament, the Diamond Head Classic. That changed today and some of that was cleared up when CBS Basketball reporter Jon Rothstein reported on the matchups that will take place on December 22, 2015:
1st-round matchups for 2015 Diamond Head Classic are set, sources told @CBSSports. Oklahoma-WSU, UNI-Hawaii, BYU-Harvard, Auburn-New Mexico.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 21, 2015
Oklahoma, of course, poses a huge challenge for the rebuilding Cougar team. The Sooners are coming off of a season that saw them ranked as high as 13th in the nation. They finished 24-11, good enough for 3rd in the Big 12 and an at large bid to March Madness as a 3 seed. In the tournament they disposed of Albany and Dayton before falling to Michigan State in the Sweet 16.
The 2014-15 team was lead by Big 12 player of the year and 3rd team all-American Buddy Hield. Many felt the junior could have been a reasonably high pick the NBA draft, but he decided to return to the team for his senior season. Last year he averaged 17.4 points per game and 5.4 rebounds.
Some good news? The matchup will be played on December 22nd, 2015, exactly 1 year and 2 days after Oklahoma dropped a neutral site game to Washington in Las Vegas. Maybe another team from the state of Washington can catch some almost-Christmas-time-neutral-site magic against a very good Oklahoma team.
The Cougs are making their return to the Diamond Head Classic. They previously made the trip to Hawaii for the 2nd annual tournament in 2010, where they lost to Butler in the title game 84-68. That Washington State team would go on to lose in the NIT semi-final to Wichita State while that Butler team went on to lose in the National Championship Game to Connecticut. I'd be fine with that outcome again for these teams, really.
The structure of the bracket isn't clear as of now, so we can't tell who the Cougs have a shot of taking on in the next game, but this is a great field. There isn't really any potential for an easy game. TV coverage has yet to be released either, but the tournament is owned and operated by ESPN, so coverage on one of their platforms is pretty certain. Last year, every opening round and semi-final game was on ESPNU, while the championship and 3rd place games were on ESPN2.
Pac-12 Networks, DirecTV, AT&T, The FCC and You
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Volleyball (Insert fire emoji here)