Washington State Cougars men's basketball

Washington State Cougars men's basketball

Infobox CBB Team
name = Washington State Cougars

logo_size = 150px
university = Washington State University
conference = Pacific Ten Conference
conference_short = Pac-10
division =
city = Pullman
stateabb = WA
state = Washington
coach = Tony Bennett
tenure = 2nd
arena = Beasley Coliseum
capacity = 11,566
nickname = Cougars
color1 = Crimson
color2 = Gray
hex1 = 990000
hex2 = 606a74
NCAAchampion = 1917
NCAAfinalfour = 1941
NCAAsweetsixteen = 1941, 2008
conference_tournament =
conference_season = 1917, 1941

The Washington State Cougars Men's Basketball team represents Washington State University and competes in the Pacific Ten Conference (Pac-10) of NCAA Division I. The Cougars play their home games at Beasley Coliseum, which has a capacity of 11,566.

Men's basketball is the second-most popular sport at Washington State, although its popularity is rapidly increasing after the 2006-2007 season.


In 1917, the Cougars won their only National Championship. The Cougar basketball team holds the dubious record of participating in the lowest scoring National Championship basketball game in Division I history, losing to Wisconsin 39-34 in the 1941 National Championship Game. The team played to large crowds in the late-1970s when George Raveling was head coach. At that time, the Cougars were among the Pac-10 conference's top teams. The 1990s saw a major decline in support as the team floundered. However, there was the beginning of a resurgence under coach Dick Bennett. The 2004-2005 season saw a large increase in student support as the team finished within a few wins of a .500 record (along with a stunning upset win against eventual Elite Eight team Arizona). Bennett retired at the end of the 2005-2006 season and was replaced by his son, Tony. Before becoming head coach, Tony Bennett spent three seasons as an assistant to his father, the last two seasons as associate head coach.

Recent Success

In 2007, following a win against then No. 7 Arizona, the Cougars appeared in the Associated Press Top 25 poll for the first time since 1983. Picked to finish last in the Pac-10 in a pre-season media poll, the Cougars surprised everyone by finishing second in the conference and peaking with a No. 9 ranking. The Cougars earned a #3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat Oral Roberts 70-54 in the first round. The Cougars then lost to Vanderbilt in the second round 78-74 in double overtime. Their final record was 13-5 in the Pac-10 and 26-8 overall, which tied the school record for most wins in a season. During the 2006-07 season, the Cougars swept rival Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, USC, Oregon State, and California. In the tournament, the coaching staff wore a pin saying TAY, which stood for Turn-Around Year. After the season, Coach Tony Bennett received the Naismith Coach of the Year award, the highest honor for a college basketball coach.

In 2008, the Cougars returned to the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars earned a #4 seed and were matched up against #13 seed Winthrop University. The Cougars dominated in the second half after a 29-29 tie in the first half to finish 71-40, far beyond the 9 point margin they were favored by. [ [http://www.dailyevergreen.com/story/25145 The Daily Evergreen Online - News - Local ] ]

The second round put them up against #5 seed Notre Dame who were favored by 2.5 points. The Cougars surprised the media and viewers nationwide. The Cougars were in control throughout the contest and ended the game with a 61-41 victory. Held to 41 points, the Fighting Irish finished their final game well below their points per game average.

After two straight victories in the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars headed to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in school history. In the Sweet Sixteen, Washington State was matched against the #1 overall seed North Carolina. During the first half, both teams seem evenly matched, but North Carolina took control in the second half and ended up winning by a score of 68-47. The Cougars finished the 2007-08 season with a record of 26-9. For the second consecutive season, the Cougars made significant improvement.


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