Aug. 4, 2005
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The 2005-06 Wyoming Cowboy Basketball schedule will feature one of the most exciting home schedules in school history highlighted by the Cowboys hosting a premier event in college basketball -- the Black Coaches Association (BCA) Invitational Nov. 13-15 in Laramie, Wyo.
The BCA Invitational will feature eight teams in three days of competition beginning Sunday, Nov. 13 and running through Tuesday, Nov. 15. Among the eight teams competing in this year's event will be 2005 NCAA Tournament participant Charlotte, perennial NCAA Tournament team Butler University and Northwestern University from the Big Ten Conference. In addition to the those three teams and the Wyoming Cowboys, the other four participants will be Alabama State, Coppin State, Lehigh and UNC Wilmington. Games will be played an noon, 2:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m and 8:00 p.m. each of the three days of the tournament for a total of 12 games. The BCA Invitational will follow a true tournament format, with the championship game scheduled for 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
The tournament will begin the Sunday following the Wyoming-BYU football game on Saturday, Nov. 12 in Laramie. To accommodate Wyoming fans who might want to stay over for the Cowboys' first round game on Sunday, Nov. 13, Wyoming will play in the 2:00 p.m. game on Sunday versus Alabama State.
"Hosting a tournament like this (the BCA Invitational) is one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities," said UW head basketball coach Steve McClain. "To have eight quality opponents on our campus, and to be able to showcase our University and our basketball program in what has become one of the top tournaments in the nation is a great honor.
"As our fans will notice, the first day of the BCA Invitational is the Sunday following the BYU-Wyoming football game. We decided to play in the afternoon that first day to give our fans, who travel a long distance to come see the Cowboys, an opportunity to see both a football game and a basketball game in the same weekend."
But the BCA Invitational is not the only outstanding event on the `05-'06 UW schedule. Wyoming will also host 2005 NCAA Sweet 16 participant Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday, Dec. 27, as well as hosting another NCAA Tournament team from last season, Southern Illinois, on Sat., Dec. 3. Other non-conference home contests will include a meeting versus Conference USA member SMU on Thursday, Dec. 22 and home games against Northern Colorado on Tuesday, Nov. 22 and Weber State on New Year's Eve day, Dec. 31.
Once again, the University of Wyoming will host the Wyoming Shootout in Casper, Wyo., on Saturday, Dec. 17. This year's opponent in Casper will be Montana State.
"When you look at Southern Illinois, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, SMU, Weber State all coming to Laramie -- that is one of the most difficult home schedules that we've ever put together," added McClain. "Then you add three difficult road games at Washington State, at Princeton and at Denver, and you are looking at a schedule that should definitely prepare us for league play."
The three difficult non-conference road games that McClain mentioned begin with a trip to Pullman, Wash., on Wednesday, Nov. 30 to take on the Washington State Cougars. On Saturday, Dec. 10, UW travels to Princeton, N.J., for a rematch with Princeton, and on Monday, Jan. 2 Wyoming will play at the University of Denver. The DU Pioneers are coming off a 2004-05 season in which they earned a bid to the National Invitation Tournament.
Conference play will see the Mountain West Conference switch to a Wednesday-Saturday format rather than the Saturday-Monday format of the past several seasons. The MWC will no longer be a part of ESPN's Big Monday, but the Pokes have already been selected to host two ESPN telecasts. Wyoming will play host to New Mexico on Saturday, Jan. 14 in an ESPN Regional telecast to tipoff at 1:00 p.m., Mountain time. And the final home game of the season should be a special day as Wyoming will host archrival Colorado State on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 8:00 p.m., before a national ESPN2 television audience. The other major change for the MWC this season is the addition of a ninth member -- TCU.
"From a coaching standpoint, it is nice to have an extra day to prepare for opponents now that we've gone to a Wednesday-Saturday schedule," said McClain. "That gives us two days of preparation between league games rather than just one day like we had before. Overall, I believe the changes will be good for the league when it is all said and done.
"The final home game will be a fun one against CSU on Senior Night with a national TV audience watching this great rivalry.
"I feel like this is a very attractive schedule for our fans as some great opponents are coming to Laramie. We've tried to improve our schedule each year in the eight years we've been here, and I think we've accomplished that with this schedule."
The Cowboys have one more home game left to add to their 2005-06 schedule before it is complete.