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Amid rapid-fire scheduling changes, BYU set to play at last-place Portland, which is winless in WCC play

On Wednesday, it was announced that the Cougars will host No. 1 Gonzaga Monday night.

SHARE Amid rapid-fire scheduling changes, BYU set to play at last-place Portland, which is winless in WCC play
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BYU Cougars coach Mark Pope celebrates after beating Portland at the Marriott Center in Provo on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

As expected, BYU has had to be flexible when it comes to scheduling during the West Coast Conference basketball season.

Just in the past week or so, the Cougars have seen a home game against San Francisco postponed and replaced with Pacific. Then last Tuesday’s scheduled game at San Diego was canceled hours before tipoff. A Feb. 13 game against the Toreros in Provo is expected to be canceled as well.

Then on Wednesday, it was announced that BYU’s showdown with No. 1 Gonzaga was moved up to Monday. The game will tip off at 9 p.m. at the Marriott Center and will be broadcast on ESPN. It was originally scheduled to be played Feb. 27.

Meanwhile, the Cougars are scheduled to play the WCC’s worst team, Portland, Thursday (5 p.m. MST, KJZZ-TV/Stadium.com) before playing the Zags, the best team in the league — and the nation.

It’s one of the increasingly rare conference games this year for BYU that hasn’t undergone a schedule change.

The Pilots (6-10, 0-7) are winless in league play. BYU pounded Portland 95-67 in Provo on Jan. 21.

BYU (14-4, 5-2) is No. 37 in the NCAA’s NET rankings. ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi currently has the Cougars as a No. 9 seed in his NCAA Tournament projections. 

BYU is trying to build on its NCAA Tournament resume and a game against top-ranked Gonzaga should help in that regard. Portland ranks No. 308 in the NET rankings.  

What’s troubling is that five of the WCC’s 10 teams — San Diego, Santa Clara, San Francisco, Saint Mary’s and Loyola Marymount — have paused activities because of COVID-related concerns.

BYU’s Jan. 30 home game against San Francisco was postponed but it hasn’t been rescheduled yet. The Cougars are slated to host Saint Mary’s Feb. 11. 


BYU (14-4, 5-2) at Portland (6-10, 0-7)

Thursday, 5 p.m. MST

Chiles Center

TV: KJZZ-TV/Stadium.com

Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM