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“Our goal every year is to put together a challenging schedule, and we feel we’ve done that again this year,” said WSU Head Coach Randy Rahe. “We are always looking to play a tough schedule to challenge ourselves, and this year is no exception. We always look forward to the in-state games and the other preseason games to prepare us for the Big Sky season, and this year we’re excited for an expanded conference schedule.”
The Wildcats will kick off their season with an opener against Arizona Christian University on Nov. 9 in Ogden after they play an exhibition game against Western State University on Nov. 5 in Ogden. The team will then hit the road and continue on for three games. The first away game will be played at San Jose State University on Nov. 15. The next road match will be a battle at Utah State University on Nov. 24 (the Wildcats defeated the Aggies at home last season). The team’s first road trip will end with a game at the University of Dayton on Nov. 28.
The Wildcats continue in December with three straight non-conference games at home against Utah Valley University, the University of California Irvine, and an in-state matchup against Brigham Young University on Dec. 15. The Wildcats lost a game to the Cougars last season.
With the addition of Southern Utah University and North Dakota University to the Big Sky Conference, WSU will be playing 20 conference games this season, starting with two road games at Eastern Washington University and USU. Of its first 12 conference games, eight will be played on the road. Momentum will shift for the Wildcats, as they will finish the season with six of their final eight games at home in Ogden.
The Wildcats are preparing for another 15-home-game season, their second in a row. WSU’s men’s basketball led the Big Sky in attendance during the 2011-12 season. The average attendance of a game was a conference high of 6,493 fans per game, the highest for the school in nine years. WSU has regularly been at the top of the list of attendance for the Big Sky Conference, and the Wildcats had the 13th-best attendance of schools in the western United States.
A few faces will be missing from the Wildcat roster this season. All-American WSU point guard Damian Lillard was recently selected in the NBA draft as the sixthpick to the Portland Trailblazers. The ‘Cats will also lose two starters of last season, Kyle Bullinger and Darin Mahoney.
Returning to the Wildcat starting lineup this season are all-conference players Scott Bamforth and Kyle Tresnak. The team will also include five new players to the roster, as well as Davion Berry, who sat last season out as a transfer.