The BYU basketball team has nine games on its schedule this month, and eight of them will not be seen on The mtn.

Nor will they be seen on the other channels with which the Mountain West Conference has deals — CBS College Sports or Versus.

Four of those nine matchups are essentially home games. And yet only one of them is on The mtn.

So, you ask me — what gives? (At least some of you have asked.) Has there been some loosening of the grip The mtn. has on BYU's basketball TV fortunes? Is that why BYUTV is telecasting five Cougar games this month?

The quick answer is — no. Absolutely not.

The Mountain West Conference and The mtn. retain the rights to all home games played by its members. That goes for both conference and non-conference matchups.

Under normal circumstances, if the Cougars play in the Marriott Center and The mtn. (or CBS C or Versus) decides it doesn't want to air the game, BYUTV would not be able to do so.

What makes this month different is that BYU is playing a couple of games in the Marriott Center that aren't exactly home games. Technically.

Thursday's game against Wagner and Saturday's game against Eastern Washington are actually part of the HoopTV Las Vegas Classic. The first two rounds of that tournament are played at various campus sites.

And because it's a tournament, The mtn. doesn't have the TV rights. Which is why both games are on BYUTV.

As are the two tournament games the Cougars will play on Dec. 22 and 23 in the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The same was true of Utah's home games against Southern and Seattle back in November. They were part of the Las Vegas Invitational, and another outlet could have carried them.

(For some reason, BYUTV apparently wasn't interested.)

BYUTV got a fifth game this month when the Cougars played San Francisco in EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City — technically a neutral site.

If that game had been in Provo, or if games against Wagner and Eastern Washington had not been part of the Las Vegas Classic, The mtn. would have had the rights. And any games it didn't want to air would not have been on TV. Period.

(Games against Trinity Western and Central Washington back in early November were exhibitions — which is why they were on BYUTV.)

That's why BYU's home game against Eastern New Mexico on Jan. 2 won't be televised.

Well, that and the fact that BYU is playing Eastern New Mexico.

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So, no, nothing has changed from past seasons.

BY THE WAY, all 16 of BYU's regular-season MWC games will be televised.

As will 15 of Utah's 16 league games. The Jan. 27 trip to Wyoming is not on the TV schedule.

e-mail: pierce@desnews.com