Washington State Cougars men's basketball
|Washington State Cougars|
|University||Washington State University|
|Head coach||Ernie Kent|
Crimson and Gray
|Pre-tournament Premo-Porretta champions|
|Pre-tournament Helms champions|
|NCAA Tournament Final Four|
|NCAA Tournament Elite Eight|
|NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen|
|NCAA Tournament appearances|
|1941, 1980, 1983, 1994, 2007, 2008|
|Conference regular season champions|
The Washington State Cougars men's basketball team represents Washington State University and competes in the Pacific-12 Conference (Pac-12) of NCAA Division I. The Cougars play their home games at Beasley Coliseum, which has a capacity of 11,566.
In 1936, the Cougars were retroactively awarded the 1917 National Championship by the Helms Athletic Foundation. The team played to large crowds in the late-1970s when George Raveling was head coach.
For the better part of seven decades, the Cougars were a consistent contender in the Pac-10 and its predecessor, the Pacific Coast Conference. However, after Kelvin Sampson left for Oklahoma in 1994, the program floundered for most of the rest of the 1990s and the early part of the 21st century. However, there was the beginning of a resurgence under coach Dick Bennett. The 2004-05 season saw a large increase in student support as the team finished within a few wins of a .500 record (along with a stunning upset win against eventual Elite Eight team Arizona). Bennett retired at the end of the 2005-06 season and was replaced by his son, Tony. Before becoming head coach, Tony Bennett spent three seasons as an assistant to his father, the last three seasons as head coach before leaving for the University of Virginia.
In 2007, following a win against then No. 7 Arizona, the Cougars appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since 1983. Picked to finish last in the Pac-10 in a pre-season media poll, the Cougars surprised everyone[who?] by finishing second in the conference and peaking with a No. 4 ranking. The Cougars earned a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat Oral Roberts 70–54 in the first round. The Cougars then lost to Vanderbilt in the second round 78–74 in double overtime. Their final record was 13–5 in the Pac-10 and 26–8 overall, which tied the school record for most wins in a season. During the 2006–07 season, the Cougars swept rival Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Oregon State, and California. In the tournament, the coaching staff wore a pin saying TAY, which stood for Turn-Around Year. After the season, Coach Tony Bennett received the Naismith Coach of the Year award, the highest honor for a college basketball coach.
In 2008, the Cougars returned to the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars earned a #4 seed and were matched up against #13 seed Winthrop University. The Cougars dominated in the second half after a 29–29 tie in the first half to finish 71–40, far beyond the 9 point margin they were favored by.
The second round put them up against #5 seed Notre Dame who was favored by 2.5 points. The Cougars surprised the media and viewers nationwide. The Cougars were in control throughout the contest and ended the game with a 61-41 victory. Held to 41 points, the Fighting Irish finished their final game well below their points per game average.
After two straight victories in the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars headed to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time in school history. In the Sweet Sixteen, Washington State was matched against the #1 overall seed North Carolina. During the first half, both teams seem evenly matched, but North Carolina took control in the second half and won by a score of 68–47. The Cougars finished the 2007–08 season with a record of 26–9.
Head coach Tony Bennett announced that he was leaving Washington State to take the head coaching job at Virginia following the 2008-09 season. Bennett, who became head coach after his father Dick Bennett's retirement, finished the season with a 17-16 record. The previous years, he led the Cougars to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. Both the father and son coached for three years at the school.
John B. Evans (1901–03)
James N. Ashmore (1904–05)
Everett M. Sweeley (1905–07)
John R. Bender (1907–08)
Fred Bohler (1908–26)
Karl Schlademan (1926–28)
Jack Friel (1928–58)
Marv Harshman (1959–71)
Bob Greenwood (1971–72)
George Raveling (1972–83)
Len Stevens (1983–87)
Kelvin Sampson (1987–94)
Kevin Eastman (1994–99)
Paul Graham (1999-2003)
Dick Bennett (2003–06)
Tony Bennett (2006–09)
Ken Bone (2009–2014)
Ernie Kent (2014–present)
NCAA Tournament results
The Cougars have appeared in six NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 6–6.
|1980||First Round||Pennsylvania||L 55–62|
|1994||First Round||Boston College||L 64–67|
L 74–78 2OT
The Cougars have appeared in five National Invitation Tournaments (NIT). Their combined record is 7–5.
|2009||First Round||Saint Mary's||L 57–68|
|Long Beach State
W 69–66 OT
The Cougars have appeared in one College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Their combined record is 4–2.
Finals Game 1
Finals Game 2
Finals Game 3