The San Francisco Dons head into the 2011-2012 college basketball season as a dark horse in the West Coast Conference behind the monster favorites in Gonzaga, BYU and Saint Mary's. Those three are getting all the publicity, but an overlooked USF squad could be incredibly dangerous by the time the WCC tournament rolls around. The Dons return their entire starting lineup from a squad that went 19-15 last season and pulled off an overtime upset of Gonzaga.
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. San Francisco will make three WCC appearances on ESPNU in 2011-12, and will also add three games on Fox College Sports Pacific and one on BYUtv. San Francisco's inclusion in the Great Alaska Shootout at the end of Alaska has brought them some of that additional television coverage.
San Francisco's national television schedule includes (all times pacific and subject to change):
San Francisco at Seattle, 3:00 p.m. (FCS Pacific)
Dartmouth vs. San Francisco, 7:30 p.m. (FCS Pacific - Great Alaska Shootout)
TBD vs. San Francisco, TBD (FCS Pacific - Great Alaska Shootout)
Saturday, January 7
San Francisco at BYU, 3:00 p.m. (BYUtv)
Saturday, January 19
San Francisco at Gonzaga, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, February 9
Santa Clara at San Francisco, 8:00 p.m. (ESPNU)
Thursday, February 16
BYU at San Francisco, 7:00 p.m. (ESPNU)