Posts tagged: WAC
As I wrote this morning, there was no reason to think Idaho — teetering at 11-11 — could topple Nevada. But the circumanstances around this matchup made me wonder if it would at least be a close game, and it was more than that. The Vandals were clearly the better team in the second half, and they used a little luck in the final minute to secure a 72-68 victory in Reno and end the Wolf Pack's 16-game winning streak.
Read on for a recap and reaction from the Vandals' best win of the year.
Tonight at 7 the Vandals play on the road against the WAC’s powerhouse team, Nevada. The Wolf Pack has won 16 straight and is starting to get the attention of national writers like Seth Davis. Idaho has let back-to-back winnable games slip away and is playing perhaps its worst basketball since last January.
There’s no reason to believe UI can upset Nevada. But it’s not as unlikely as you might think. Find out why after the jump.
At home. After winning four of five. With the chance to hang alongside New Mexico State as one of the clear top two teams in the WAC behind Nevada. That's what the Vandals had in front of them last night heading into a matchup with Hawaii.
But they couldn't take advantage in a 76-70 loss to UH. John Blanchette had this game story, summing up the missed opportunity well. Now the Vandals are 11-10, 4-3 in the WAC — tied with Hawaii and Utah State and a game behind second-place NMSU.
During his time at Idaho, Deremy Geiger has proven to be a hot-or-cold outside shooter. And during most of this season, the Vandals have been the same as a team. Geiger was feeling it Thursday night, and so have the Vandals in the last few weeks.
Idaho pulled away from San Jose State for a 74-66 win last night in front a small crowd in Moscow. More details below.
Before tonight, Idaho had yet to lose by more than eight points this season. But the Vandals, it seems, hadn't played anyone of Nevada's caliber either. The Wolf Pack smoked UI 73-55 at Cowan Spectrum, with just 1,018 fans on hand with the students still on holiday break.
Read on for my game story.
The WAC portion of Idaho's schedule starts tonight, and it won't be easy. Not tonight against league favorite Nevada or Saturday versus Fresno State. And not over the next two weeks.
Read on for more about the Vandals' conference opener.
The Idaho State Board of Education today gave Boise State the OK to pursue membership in the Big East as a football-only member, a move that could have major implications for the Western Athletic Conference and the University of Idaho. If Boise State moves to the Big East, its other sports could move to the WAC, West Coast Conference or another conference that makes geographic sense. BSU president Bob Kustra said he's in discussions with one conference in particular to house the Broncos' Olympic sports.
Kustra also told the State Board that Conference USA could grab current WAC members New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech if the Big East adds Houston, SMU and Central Florida in its expansion, while the Mountain West could take Utah State. San Jose State has also been rumored to the MWC.
With all this conference movement still in flux, Idaho AD Rob Spear declined to comment when reached by The Spokesman-Review. “As you can imagine, we are exploring mutiple scenarios,” Spear said in an email.
The Idaho Vandals were pegged to finish fifth in the WAC preseason coaches and media men's basketball polls, released this morning. Last year UI went 18-14 and finished third in the conference, despite being voted eighth in the preseason. “I think it kind of proves what we’ve done over the last three years,” coach Don Verlin said. “We’re building a solid, stable program here, and I think that’s why we were picked as high as we were, despite returning only one full-time starter and losing as many guys as we did.”
Center Kyle Barone, a reserve for most of last year, was a preseason second-team selection by the coaches. The Vandals' lone returning starter is senior point guard Deremy Geiger. Guard Landon Tatum also returns, as does wing Stephen Madison, and posts Joe Kammerer and Djim Bandoumel (who was ruled ineligibile after eight games last year).
Among the Vandals' many newcomers is 6-foot-6, 255-pound Dazmond Starke, who originally signed with UTEP and played at Eastern Arizona College. UTEP released Starke from his letter of intent in April.
More here from the WAC.
UPDATED: 2:00 p.m.
If the Idaho Vandals challenge for the conference title like they expect to, it will be a surprise to both the WAC coaches and reporters that cover the conference. UI was picked sixth in the media and coaches' preason polls, released this morning. Hawaii is No. 1 in both polls, followed by Fresno State and Nevada. Lousiana Tech and Utah State are fourth and fifth.
Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz was named preseason offensive player of the year, and Utah State's Bobby Wagner garnered the same award on the defensive side.
See the full polls and more here. We've got a rundown of Robb Akey's comments on scheduling, the Vandals' potential on defense, and a few jabs at Boise State and BYU.
The WAC today announced the addition of the University of Texas-Arlington, a move that you can read all about after the link with our story.
UPDATED: 4:35 p.m.
Seattle University has accepted an invite to join the Western Athletic Conference, league commissioner Karl Benson announced this afternoon. Seattle U. is the second non-football playing school to join the WAC after the University of Denver came aboard with Texas State and Texas-San Antonio. The Redhawks will become members on July 1, 2012.
Utah Valley University was not offered an invitation, Benson said. This leaves the WAC will seven football playing schools and nine altogether starting in 2012. Benson said he would like to add more football members and could announce another round of expansion at this time next year, if not sooner.
Click below for our story.
I figured those of you who read this women's basketball blog were up on the news of yesterday, Gonzaga's shocking upset to win the WCC Tournament and senior guard Courtney Vandersloot someone winning a national award … OK, maybe we weren't completely sure Vandersloot would win the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Awad but there was no way the Bulldogs weren't winning. Anyway, those stories were handled by the A team in Las Vegas, including Christopher Anderson's slide show, but I was waiting to give you my last women's basketball notebook, but alas it's not posted yet and I have somethings to take care of before a hockey game tonight. Check back tonight before 7 for the notebook, in the meantime there is some news for you, so read on.
University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear spoke with reporters this morning, touching on football scheduling, WAC expansion, the Kibbie Dome renovation and trying to bolster attendance at basketball games.
Click below for all the details.
Karl Benson and the Western Athletic Conference have dodged a bullet — at least for now. After two days of meetings, the Mountain West Conference Board of Directors issued a statement declaring the conference would not expand. This comes after reports that Utah State and perhaps San Jose State were set to jump from the WAC to MWC. “The Board feels strongly the membership configuration already established going forward creates outstanding prospects for future success,” the MWC statement read.
Already the MWC has lured Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada from the WAC. Last week Idaho athletic director Rob Spear said the Vandals are pursuing, among other options, a possible spot in the MWC.
With conference reshuffling still ongoing, Idaho athletic director Rob Spear in an email confirmed that he's had conversations with Mountain West Conference comissioner Craig Thompson. “We are exploring all avenues and this includes the Mountain West,” Spear said. UI has yet to make a presentation to the MWC board of directors, he said. The Vandals are current members of the Western Athletic Conference, which is set to lose Boise State, Fresno State, Hawaii and Nevada to the MWC. The San Jose Mercury News reported earlier this week that San Jose State could be a target of the MWC as well. And late last year it was reported Utah State was talking to the MWC.
Idaho athletic director Rob Spear was quoted in the Lewiston Tribune today as saying expansion of the WAC could be immiment. “I would actually keep your eyes and ears open this week,” Spear said. Sure enough, a San Antonio newspaper is reporting that the University of Texas-San Antonio might announce its arrival into the WAC as early as Thursday. UTSA is currently a member of the Southland Conference in the FCS.
UPDATE: UTSA, Texas State and Denver will join the WAC in 2012-13, according to ESPN.com. An announcement is expected Thursday.
On a separate note, the Idaho men’s basketball team is expected to have a few early signees, but the paperwork won’t be complete until later today.
Texas State and Texas-San Antonio appear on the verge of becoming football members of the Western Athletic Conference, according to the San Jose Mercury News. The two Texas schools, currently in the Football Championship Subdivision, would join by 2012. Montana is also a possibility to join the league, which splintered this summer, but the Grizzlies are still conducting a feasibility study of jumping from the FCS to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Meanwhile, Nevada and Fresno State will stay with the league through the 2011-12 school year and pay a smaller exit fee, ESPN.com’s Andy Katz reported. The WAC has scheduled a press conference to discuss the issue tomorrow morning.
The league seems intent on keeping at least eight football members. ESPN and the Mercury News also reported that the University of Denver and Seattle are strong candidates to join the WAC as non-football playing members.
Brigham Young, which is going independent in football and joining the West Coast Conference in other sports, will play Idaho next year as part of an agreement with the WAC. But unlike BYU’s other WAC opponents in 2011 and 2012, the Vandals won’t reap a home game as part of the arrangement. However, the Cougars and UI will play a home-and-home series in men’s basketball starting in 2011-12.
We’ve got more after the link, including a statement from Idaho athletic director Rob Spear.
UPDATED — 4:28 p.m.
On Wednesday morning, WAC commissioner Karl Benson was transitioning his daughter to college life at USC. Hours later, the league he runs was in disarray.
Benson said the sudden exit of Fresno State and Nevada were “selfish actions.” Only six WAC teams remain, including the University of Idaho, and whether BYU will move to the WAC to participate in everything but football is still unknown.
Since Benson spoke this morning, UI athletic director Rob Spear has also met with the media. We’ve got a story for you below.
Fresno State and Nevada are joining Boise State in a move from the WAC to the Mountain West, leaving Idaho and the five other remaining WAC members — at this point — to pick up the pieces. The exodus of two of the league’s upper-echelon programs could lead to the eventual disintegration of the WAC, or a slew of invitations from WAC commissioner Karl Benson to lower-tier Western schools. It’s been reported that BYU will join the WAC in all sports other than football, where it will move to independent status. But that’s still up in the air.
Idaho athletic Rob Spear told the S-R this evening that he won’t comment at this time. Meanwhile, football coach Robb Akey told the Idaho Statesman: “Selfishly, I just want to see the WAC come out of it in the strongest fashion. That’s what I’m pulling for.”