The WCC is going to look different after the 2022-23 season, with BYU departing for the greener($) pastures of the Big 12.
While BYU hasn’t won a WCC championship, the last decade brought heated matchups, an unmatched road environment, and multiple NCAA Tournament appearances to the conference.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few was quick to praise BYU for not only finding a new home in the Big 12, but for what they brought to the WCC since joining in 2011.
“My first thoughts are happy for them, they found a great landing spot,” Mark Few told reporters, including Jim Meehan of the Spokesman-Review. “Their effect on the league has been huge. It’s one of the greatest things we’ve done as a league in the 30-plus years I’ve been in it. They’re a national program and they act like a national program. Their game day is as good as anybody’s, and we’ve been everywhere.”
“It’s been a healthy rivalry with some phenomenal games and different characters involved over the years, highly competitive,” Few continued. “I’m sure we’ll continue to play in some fashion or form moving forward.”
BYU never quite got back to the high level of success they had with Jimmer Fredette. They still made four NCAA Tournament appearances while in the WCC however, and they could make a fifth with a strong season in 22-23.
They also went 8-5 in five NIT appearances, losing in the semifinals in both 2013 (to Baylor) and 2016 (to Valparaiso).
The big part of the story is Few’s willingness to continue playing BYU as part of Gonzaga’s non-conference slate. BYU head coach Mark Pope echoed Few’s sentiments about keeping the game going, although he acknowledged BYU will have to reevaluate how they go about creating a non-conference schedule after moving to the Big 12.
“Anytime you have a chance to play Gonzaga, it’s awesome,” Pope said. “On a personal level, coach Few has been so generous and gracious to me as a coach trying to figure out this profession. Yeah, we love that game and love to have that game continue. I’m not sure the Zags are having a tough time getting games right now.”
Gonzaga will face BYU at least twice this season, once in Provo on January 12 and again in Spokane on February 11.
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