Washington State Cougars men's basketball

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Washington State Cougars men's basketball
2018–19 Washington State Cougars men's basketball team
Washington State Cougars wordmark.svg
UniversityWashington State University
Head coachErnie Kent (4th season)
LocationPullman, Washington
ArenaBeasley Coliseum
(Capacity: 11,566)
ColorsCrimson and Gray[1]
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Home jersey
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Team colours
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Away jersey
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Team colours
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Alternate jersey
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Team colours
Pre-tournament Premo-Porretta champions
Pre-tournament Helms champions
NCAA Tournament runner-up
NCAA Tournament Final Four
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
NCAA Tournament Round of 32
1983, 2007, 2008
NCAA Tournament appearances
1941, 1980, 1983, 1994, 2007, 2008
Conference regular season champions
1917, 1941

The Washington State Cougars men's basketball team represents Washington State University and competes in the Pac-12 Conference (Pac-12) of NCAA Division I. The Cougars play their home games on campus in Pullman at Beasley Coliseum, which has a capacity of 11,566.


Washington State began varsity intercollegiate competition in men's basketball in 1902. The Cougars were retroactively awarded the 1917 National Championship by the Helms Athletic Foundation and the Premo-Porretta Power Poll.[2][3] 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. After a dark period in the late 1990s and early 2000s, 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 Arizona, an eventual Elite Eight team). Bennett retired at the end of the 2005-06 season and was replaced by his son, Tony.

Tony Bennett tied the all-time WSU record for wins (26) in two of his three seasons as head coach before leaving for Virginia Cavaliers in 2009. Washington State had recently cancelled a trip to the 2009 Final Four for Bennett and his staff, and was considering dropping chartered recruiting trips which had just been started one year prior at Bennett's request.[4]


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.[5]

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.[6] The Cougars finished the 2007–08 season with a record of 26–9.


Head coach Tony Bennett announced that he was leaving for Virginia following the 2008–09 season.[7] Bennett, who became head coach after his father Dick Bennett's retirement, finished the season with a 17–16 record. In the previous two years, he led the Cougars to consecutive NCAA tournament appearances; father and son coached the Cougars for three seasons each.


NCAA Tournament results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in six NCAA Tournaments. Their combined record is 6–6.

Year Seed Round Opponent Result
1941 Elite Eight
Final Four
National Championship Game
W 48–39
W 64–53
L 34–39
1980 #5 Round of 48 #12 Penn L 55–62
1983 #8 Round of 48
Round of 32
#9 Weber State
#1 Virginia
W 62–52
L 49–54
1994 #8 Round of 64 #9 Boston College L 64–67
2007 #3 Round of 64
Round of 32
#14 Oral Roberts
#6 Vanderbilt
W 70–54
L 74–78 2OT
2008 #4 Round of 64
Round of 32
Sweet Sixteen
#13 Winthrop
#5 Notre Dame
#1 North Carolina
W 71–40
W 61–41
L 47–68

NIT results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in five National Invitation Tournaments (NIT). Their combined record is 7–5.

Year Round Opponent Result
1992 First Round
New Mexico
W 72–70
L 71–79
1995 First Round
Second Round
Texas Tech
Illinois State
W 94–82
W 83–80
L 80–99
1996 First Round
Second Round
W 92–73
L 73–82
2009 First Round Saint Mary's L 57–68
2011 First Round
Second Round
Long Beach State
Oklahoma State
Wichita State
W 85–74
W 74–64
W 69–66 OT
L 44–75

CBI results[edit]

The Cougars have appeared in one College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Their combined record is 4–2.

Year Round Opponent Result
2012 First Round
Finals Game 1
Finals Game 2
Finals Game 3
San Francisco
Oregon State
W 89–75
W 61–41
W 72–55
W 67–66
L 53–57
L 65–71



Gonzaga University is a Jesuit university in Spokane, about 75 miles (120 km) north of Pullman.[8] As of the 2013–14 season, Washington State has a 98–50 (.662) lead in the series against the Bulldogs; the series began in 1907 and has most recently been played annually since 2001.[9] The game in December 2007 marked the first time the two met as ranked teams.[10] Visiting Washington State was ranked #6 in the AP Poll and won 51–47 over #19 Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center.[11]


A non-conference series since 1959, Washington State has played the Idaho Vandals of neighboring Moscow annually since 1906 in a rivalry dubbed the Battle of the Palouse; the U of I is less than eight miles (13 km) east of Pullman. They often met four or five times per season until 1964, reduced to twice a season for the next decade. It has since become an annual event early in the schedule (except for the mid-1990s, when two games per season were played). The continuing rivalry is the oldest in the western United States,[12] four years older than WSU's series with the Washington Huskies.

The two played the first-ever regular season basketball game in the newly-enclosed Kibbie Dome in January 1976, won by the Cougars.[13] The rivalry was at its peak in December 1982 when 11,000 were in the same venue for a Saturday night overtime thriller, won by the Vandals.[14][15][16][17]

Washington State has a 163–110 (.597) lead in the series through December 2017, when Idaho won 91–64 in Moscow, for a third win in four years.[12] Before that, WSU had won eleven straight and 19 of the previous 21 meetings.[18][19]


The University of Washington is located in Seattle, nearly three hundred miles (480 km) west of Pullman. As of 2014, the Washington Huskies have a 177–101 (.637) lead in the series that began in 1910.[20]

Record vs. Pac-12 opponents[edit]

The Washington State Cougars have the following all-time series records vs. Pac-12 opponents. They lead the series vs. four opponents and are exactly even in one other series.

Opponent Wins Losses Pct. Streak
Arizona 28 47 .373 Arizona 6
Arizona St. 41 36 .532 ASU 8
California 48 80 .375 Cal 4
Colorado 9 8 .529 Col 1
Oregon 125 169 .425 Oregon 1
Oregon St. 156 137 .527 WSU 1
Stanford 69 71 .493 Stanford
UCLA 42 94 .309 UCLA 3
USC 69 69 .500 WSU 1
Utah 8 7 .533 Utah 1
Washington 101 178 .362 UW 1
  • Note all-time series includes non-conference matchups.


  1. ^ Washington State University Athletics Department Brand Identity Guidelines (PDF). Washington State Cougars. April 18, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2017.
  2. ^ List of Helms Champs
  3. ^ ESPN, ed. (2009). ESPN College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men's Game. New York, NY: ESPN Books. p. 534. ISBN 978-0-345-51392-2.
  4. ^ Bennett Virginia's New Men's Coach, accessed December 8, 2017
  5. ^ The Daily Evergreen Online - News - Local
  6. ^ Hansbrough, UNC roll past Wazzu into Elite Eight
  7. ^ Virginia to name Bennett coach
  8. ^ Kaplan, Ben (December 3, 2012). "Gonzaga and Washington State prepare to meet again". KXLY. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  9. ^ "All-time opponents: Gonzaga", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball, Washington State Cougars, p. 36
  10. ^ Geranios, Nicholas K. (December 4, 2007). "Cats and 'Dogs, ranked together: Washington State, Gonzaga meet as Top 25 teams for first time". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  11. ^ "No. 6 Washington State Defeats No. 19 Gonzaga, 51-47". wsucougars.com. Associated Press. December 5, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  12. ^ a b Lawson, Theo (December 6, 2017). "Brayon Blake's 26 points lead hot-shooting Idaho past Washington State for third-largest win in Battle of Palouse". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  13. ^ Missildine, Harry (January 22, 1976). "Cougars best Idaho before record crowd". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). p. 37.
  14. ^ Devlin, Vince (December 3, 1982). "George bristles over '81 UI win". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 19.
  15. ^ Killen, John (December 4, 1982). "Idaho vs. WSU". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  16. ^ Devlin, Vince (December 6, 1982). "For Cougs, it was a foul night". Spokane Chronicle. (Washington). p. 23.
  17. ^ Killen, John (December 5, 1982). "Vandals nip Cougars in OT, 62-58". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). p. 1B.
  18. ^ "Vandals win!". Idaho Vandals. December 3, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  19. ^ "All-time opponents: Idaho", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball, Washington State Cougars, pp. 36–37
  20. ^ "Pac-12 opponents: Washington", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball, Washington State Cougars, p. 34

External links[edit]