Washington State Cougars men's basketball

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Washington State Cougars men's basketball
2015–16 Washington State Cougars men's basketball team
Washington State Cougars men's basketball athletic logo
University Washington State University
Conference Pac-12
Location Pullman, WA
Head coach Ernie Kent (1st year)
Arena Beasley Coliseum
(Capacity: 11,566)
Nickname Cougars

Crimson and Gray

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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 Final Four
NCAA Tournament Elite Eight
NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen
1941, 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 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.


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.[1][2] 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.[citation needed]


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.[citation needed] 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.[3]

The second round put them up against #5 seed Notre Dame who was favored by 2.5 points.[citation needed] The Cougars surprised the media and viewers nationwide.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[4] 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.[5] 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[edit]

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

Year Seed Round Opponent Result/Score
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/Score
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/Score
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, Washington, about 75 miles north of Washington State University.[6] As of the 2013–14 season, Washington State has a 98–50 lead in the all-time series against the Gonzaga Bulldogs in a series that began in 1907 and has most recently been played annually since 2001.[7] The Gonzaga/WSU game on December 5, 2007 marked the first time the two schools played each other as ranked teams.[8] Washington State, ranked #6 in the AP Poll, won over #19 Gonzaga 51-47.[9]


Currently an out-of-conference series, Washington State has played the Idaho Vandals annually since 1906 in a rivalry dubbed the Battle of the Palouse, derived from the fact that Washington State University and the University of Idaho are fewer than 8 miles apart in the Palouse. Washington State has a 162–108 lead in the series as of December 3, 2014; in the latest game in the series, Idaho won 77-71 in Idaho's first win over Washington State since 2002.[10][11]


The University of Washington is the flagship state university of Washington, located in Seattle, approximately 300 miles west of Pullman. As of 2014, the Washington Huskies have a 177–101 lead in the series vs. Washington State that began in 1910.[12]

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. six opponents and are exactly even in two other series.

Opponent Wins Losses Pct. Streak
Arizona 28 47 .373 Arizona 6
Arizona St. 41 36 .532 ASU 8
California 79 80 .500 WSU 1
Colorado 9 8 .529 Col 1
Oregon 124 165 .429 Oregon 1
Oregon St. 155 137 .531 OSU 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. ^ List of Helms Champs
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ The Daily Evergreen Online - News - Local
  4. ^ Hansbrough, UNC roll past Wazzu into Elite Eight
  5. ^ Virginia to name Bennett coach
  6. ^ Kaplan, Ben (December 3, 2012). "Gonzaga and Washington State prepare to meet again". KXLY. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  7. ^ "All-time opponents: Gonzaga", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball (Washington State Cougars): 36 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ "No. 6 Washington State Defeats No. 19 Gonzaga, 51-47". wsucougars.com. Associated Press. December 5, 2007. Retrieved December 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Vandals win!". Idaho Vandals. December 3, 2014. Retrieved December 3, 2014. 
  11. ^ "All-time opponents: Idaho", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball (Washington State Cougars): 36–37 
  12. ^ "Pac-12 opponents: Washington", 2014-15 Washington State Basketball (Washington State Cougars): 34 

External links[edit]