The Saint Mary's Gaels enter the 2011-2012 college basketball season considered by many to be the number three team in the West Coast Conference behind perennial favorite Gonzaga and newcomer heavyweight Brigham Young University. They have developed a higher profile in recent years courtesy of some big tournament wins and solid regular season performances.
The West Coast Conference has a solid television deal in place with ESPN that gets the likes of Saint Mary's, Gonzaga, San Francisco and other folks on national television a decent amount. The addition of BYU could mean even more national exposure for the conference, particularly with the chance for three teams to get NCAA tournament berths.
The conference will have 21 games showcased on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, including the quarterfinals, semifinals and championship game of the WCC conference tournament. SMC will make seven appearances on the ESPN family of networks in 2011-12, with six of the games coming as part of the WCC's package of games. The game against Northern Iowa is part of ESPN's College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. SMC could find itself in an eighth nationally televised game as part of the 2012 Sears Bracketbuster Saturday. Their opponent and game time is yet to be determined.
SMC's national television schedule includes (all times pacific and subject to change):
Monday, November 14
Northern Iowa at Saint Mary's, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Thursday, December 29
BYU at Saint Mary's, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thursday, January 5
Saint Mary's at San Diego, TBA (ESPNU)
Thursday, January 12
Gonzaga at Saint Mary's, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Saturday, January 28
Saint Mary's at BYU, TBA (ESPNU)
Thursday, February 9
Saint Mary's at Gonzaga, 8:00 p.m. (ESPN2)
Thursday, February 23
Saint Mary's at Portland, TBA (ESPNU)