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Washington State to host regional rivals Idaho, Eastern Washington as part of 7-game nonconference slate

UPDATED: Wed., Nov. 18, 2020

Washington State forward Tony Miller (32) attempts a layup as Idaho guard Trevon Allen (25), forward Scott Blakney (34) and guard Keyshaad Dixon (4) watch during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Moscow, Idaho.  (Pete Caster/Lewiston Tribune)
Washington State forward Tony Miller (32) attempts a layup as Idaho guard Trevon Allen (25), forward Scott Blakney (34) and guard Keyshaad Dixon (4) watch during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019, in Moscow, Idaho. (Pete Caster/Lewiston Tribune)

Washington State’s men’s basketball team will play a regionally focused nonconference schedule, hosting Idaho, Eastern Washington and two other Big Sky opponents as part of a seven-game slate in November and December.

Eight of the nine games the Cougars will play before the new year, including two Pac-12 contests, will air on Pac-12 Networks. The only game without a TV designation at this point is the Dec. 2 Pac-12 opener against Oregon State. WSU will leave the Palouse just once before then but not for a nonconference game.

The Cougars will open the second season of the Kyle Smith era next Wednesday at home against Texas Southern (6 p.m.). Three days later, and one day after WSU’s football team hosts Washington in the Apple Cup, the Cougars will host Eastern Washington (8 p.m.) in a game that was originally scheduled to happen in late December at Spokane Arena. WSU and EWU haven’t met at Beasley Coliseum since 2012, but the Cougars have won the past five regular-season games they’ve played against the Eagles.

One week later, WSU will take a short break from the nonconference schedule to play two early Pac-12 games, on Dec. 2 at home against Oregon State and Dec. 5 at Colorado (times TBA).

The Cougars will return home for the final three weeks of the nonconference season, playing on Dec. 9 against Idaho (6 p.m.) in the 276th edition of the Battle of the Palouse. WSU has won three of the past four games against Idaho, but the Cougars and Vandals have split the past six.

Two more Big Sky teams will visit Pullman, beginning with a Dec. 13 game against Portland State (2 p.m.). on Dec. 18, the Cougars will host Montana State (TBD) in a game that should have extra significance for WSU senior guard and preseason All-Pac-12 Second Team selection Isaac Bonton, who started his career with the Bobcats.

To close out the nonconference schedule, WSU will host Prairie View A&M (4 p.m.) on Dec. 21 and finally Northwestern State (4 p.m.) on Dec. 23.

The Cougars are looking to build off a 16-16 record from last season and should be favored in each of their nonconference games. WSU enters the season ranked No. 136 on Ken Pomeroy’s chart – seven spots higher than Eastern Washington at 143.

The other six opponents on the nonconference schedule are ranked as such: Montana State (219), Texas Southern (233), Northwestern State (267), Portland State (296), Prairie View A&M (319) and Idaho (339).

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