Washington State has played a compelling, and obscure, role in BYU basketball history.

And the biggest game between the two programs takes place Wednesday (7 p.m. MDT, ESPN2), when the BYU Cougars and the WSU Cougars collide at the Marriott Center in the NIT quarterfinals. 

The winner will advance to the semifinals at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 29. 

NIT quarterfinals


Washington State (21-14)


at BYU (24-10)


Wednesday, 7 p.m. MDT


Marriott Center


TV: ESPN2


Radio: BYU Radio/1160 AM


This game will also be a rubber match of sorts. The all-time series between BYU and Washington State is tied at 5-5, with the first meeting dating back to 1946.

Two past meetings have been historically significant for two previous BYU coaches.

The last time BYU and Washington State played, in Spokane on Nov. 22, 2005, BYU won 76-68, marking Dave Rose’s first victory as the Cougars’ head coach. Rose finished his career with a 301-131 record during his 14 seasons at BYU.

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The last time the two teams squared off in Provo, on Nov. 19, 1997, Washington State beat BYU 78-49, marking the first loss for Steve Cleveland as BYU’s head coach — in his first game at the Marriott Center. Cleveland posted a 138-108 mark during his eight seasons at the helm.

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What’s at stake in BYU’s NIT quarterfinal matchup against Washington State

On Wednesday, more history will be made.

For BYU, a win would send the program to the NIT semifinals for the first time since 2016. A victory would also give coach Mark Pope (39-5) his 40th victory at the Marriott Center in three seasons at the helm.

The last time WSU advanced to the NIT quarterfinals, in 2011, the Cougars, led by Klay Thompson, defeated Northwestern in overtime. Wazzu then lost in the semifinals to Wichita State.

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