The West Coast Conference schedules are out all over the country, which means the BYU basketball teams can officially start preparing for the most important parts of their respective seasons.
But there’s a bittersweet element to this particular schedule release. It will make the final times the Cougars and the Gonzaga Bulldogs face off twice a season in a conference rivalry that has brought about some epic face-offs.
The men play Gonzaga at home on Jan. 12, while the women host the Bulldogs on Feb. 25 for their season finale. The women open their conference schedule on the road against Gonzaga.
On Feb. 11, the men are on the road for what may be their final game ever against the Bulldogs before the entire program transitions to the Big 12.
Just last season, the BYU women’s team staged a comeback against Gonzaga on the road, led by a freshly stitched-up Paisley Harding.
In 2020, mere weeks before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and the sports shut down all over the world, the BYU men rode Yoeli Childs and his 28 points to a victory in front of a sellout crowd at the Marriott Center.
In 2017, one of Dave Rose’s final BYU men’s teams thwarted the then-No. 1 Bulldogs’s attempt at a perfect season. The Cougars took advantage of some late turnovers and turned that into a 79-71 victory.
And who can forget the Jimmer Fredette days, when he and the Cougars beat Gonzaga in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 to advance to the Sweet 16?
Those are just some of the fond memories Cougars fan over the span of the biggest rivalry in the Utah college basketball scene (other than Utah-BYU, of course). There could be non-conference games between the two teams in the future, but it may never be like this again.