With the release of the West Coast Conference schedule this morning, the University of San Francisco Dons men’s basketball team now has a complete slate ahead of it for the 2018-19 season under newly-re-signed head coach Kyle Smith.
Smith, who has guided the Dons to back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1981-82, inked a multi-year extension on July 27 after going 42-30 over his first two seasons on the Hilltop, and will face a daunting schedule in his third campaign, featuring match-ups with three Pac-12 schools at home (Nov. 16 vs. Arizona State at 7 pm; Dec. 5 vs. California and Dec. 22 vs. Stanford), and a trip to Ireland for the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic against Stephen F. Austin and an opponent still to be announced.
San Francisco’s conference schedule opens up with a Jan. 3 match-up against NIT quarterfinal participant St. Mary’s, which went 30-6 last season and blew through the conference for a second-place finish with a 16-2 league record. Next up is Pepperdine, which comes to War Memorial Gym on Jan. 5, followed by Gonzaga on Jan. 12. The Bulldogs went to the Sweet 16 and won both the regular season and WCC Tournament titles, going 32-5 under Mark Few with a 17-1 record against conference opponents.
“We are excited to open up the WCC schedule with perennial contender Saint Mary’s at home,” Smith said in a statement. “Starting the league after New Year’s gives our fans a chance to really gear up to what should be an exciting conference season as we battle for a top seed.”
Next up is the third-place team in the WCC, BYU, which went 24-11 overall last season, and 11-7 against the conference. The Cougars visit San Francisco on Jan. 19, before the Dons host Portland — which finished second-to-last in the WCC — on Jan. 24.
San Francisco then embarks on a season-long three-game road swing to face San Diego on Jan. 26, St.Mary’s on Feb. 2 and Gonzaga on Feb. 7.
The Dons return home for a two-game home stand against Santa Clara (Feb. 9) and Pepperdine (Feb. 14) before another three-game road trip against Portland (Feb. 16), BYU (Feb. 21) and Santa Clara (Feb. 23), before finishing at home with San Diego (Feb. 28) and Loyola (March 2).
Smith has so far gone 19-17 in conference play over his two seasons, and this year, he will return a core of three-time captain Nate Renfro, three-year starter Matt McCarthy, sophomore Charles Minlend and point guard Frankie Ferrari. Last season, Ferrari became just the third player in USF history to record 150 assists while scoring over 400 points, as San Francisco broke the team single-season record for made 3-point field goals (333, breaking a record his first team set, with 299).
Smith’s .583 winning percentage at USF is fifth-best in program history for a head coach through two seasons, topping Naismith Hall of Fame names such as Pete Newell (.509), Phil Wolpert (.400) and other legendary Dons‘ head coaches such as Pete Paletta (.509), Phil Vukicevich (.568), and Jim Brovelli (.410).
Smith’s 42 wins after two seasons ranks fourth-most in school history, behind Pete Berry (49 wins), Dan Belluomini (45 wins), and Bob Gaillard (43 wins). In posting back-to-back 20-win seasons, Smith becomes the first Dons head coach to accomplish that feat since the 1981-82 seasons. He has guided the Dons to consecutive postseason tournament appearances, the second culminating with the Dons’ first postseason tournament championship appearance since USF took home the NCAA Championship in 1956.
Full Schedule (no time listed = TBA)
Nov. 6 at UC Davis
Nov. 10 vs. Maine
NOv.12 vs. Sonoma State (7 pm)
Nov. 16 vs. Arizona State (7 pm)
Nov. 18 vs. LIU Brooklyn (7 pm)
Nov. 21 vs. Harvard (7 pm)
Nov. 24 vs. Dartmouth
Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic in Belfast Ireland
Nov. 30 vs. Stephen F. Austin
Dec. 1 TBA
Dec. 5 at California
Dec. 13 vs. Eastern Washington at 7 pm
Dec. 16 vs. Cal State Fullerton at 1 pm
Dec.19 vs. Northern Arizona at 7 pm
Dec. 22 vs. Stanford at 7 pm
Dec.29 at UC Santa Barbara
Jan. 3, 2019: St. Mary’s at USF
Jan. 5 USF at Pepperdine
Jan. 12 Gonzaga at USF
Jan. 17 USF at Pacific
Jan. 19 BYU at USF
Jan. 24 Portland at USF
Jan. 26 USF at San DIego
Feb. 2 USF at St. Mary’s
Feb. 7 USF at Gonzaga
Feb. 9 Santa Clara at USF
Feb. 14 Pepperdine at USF
Feb. 16 USF at Portland
Feb. 21 USF at BYU
Feb. 23 USF at Santa Clara
Feb. 28 San Diego at USF