What games highlight BYU basketball’s nonconference schedule this season?
A possible matchup with Kansas and games against rivals San Diego State and Utah stand out in coach Mark Pope’s fourth season at the helm
A trip to the Bahamas — to participate in a loaded Battle 4 Atlantis field that includes the potential of facing defending national champion Kansas — and games against San Diego State and archrival Utah highlight the BYU basketball 2022-23 nonconference schedule, which was officially released Wednesday.
The Cougars open coach Mark Pope’s fourth season at the helm with an exhibition game against Ottawa (Arizona) on Nov. 2 and they host Idaho State in the season opener on Nov. 7.
BYU renews its longstanding rivalry with SDSU on Nov. 11 with a visit to Viejas Arena in San Diego.
On Nov. 23, the Cougars will be in the Bahamas for the Battle 4 Atlantis, a prestigious multiteam event. Two years ago, the Cougars were slated to play in the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas but it was canceled due to COVID-19.
BYU opens the Battle 4 Atlantis against USC on Nov. 23, followed by a matchup with either Tennessee or Butler on Nov. 24. On Nov. 25, the Cougars could meet either Kansas, North Carolina State, Wisconsin or Dayton.
Next season, BYU will join Kansas as members of the Big 12. Jayhawks coach Bill Self has a lot of respect for Pope.
“Mark will be a star in our profession. He knows what he’s doing. He’s got personality,” Self told the Deseret News last year. “One of the nation’s coaching stars. BYU to me is, a sleeping giant is probably not the right word because it makes it sound like they haven’t done it yet. But they’re a team that could be really good for a long time. Certainly as long as Mark’s there. It’s an NCAA Tournament team year in and year out. I think he’ll do a great job. ... I think that they’re a great add to our league.”
After the trip to the Bahamas, BYU will play Westminster (Nov. 29) and South Dakota (Dec. 3) at Vivint Arena.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center on Dec. 7 for a game against Utah Valley, which upset BYU last year in Orem.
On Dec. 17, former BYU assistant Chris Burgess returns to the Marriott Center as the Cougars host Utah. Last spring, Burgess was hired by his alma mater after spending three seasons as an assistant under Pope.
The other nonconference home games are against Missouri State (Nov. 16), Nicholls State (Nov. 19), Western Oregon (Dec. 15), Lindenwood (Dec. 20) and Weber State (Dec. 22).
BYU opens its final season of West Coast Conference play on Dec. 29 at Pacific.
“It’s very similar to last year,” BYU assistant coach Nick Robinson told the Deseret News in July about the nonconference schedule. “We felt like our schedule last year put us in the upper echelon of strength of schedule. We’re in the Battle 4 Atlantis; we’ve got Utah on the schedule again; we have a couple of teams that will be return games. For us, the focus is going to be on putting us in a great situation to be prepared for the West Coast Conference.”