Does BYU have an elite basketball program?

Ethan Miller

It's all in the subjective details ready for your inferences!

My man @PostJimmer, who is known in the world of humans by the name of Steve Pierce, is my favorite BYU basketball analyst on Twitter. His analysis is even-handed, entertaining, and grounded in reality. A specific tweet during the opening moments of the second half vs. Gonzaga caused a stirring within my bosom, if not a thrill up my leg.



First, let us decide the metric by which we are going to define powerhouse.

Who is BYU to be compared with? Division 1 college basketball as a whole? Kentucky, Duke, and Syracuse? There are three divisions within college basketball. You have the Big 6 leagues (ACC, B10, B12, SEC, Big East, and P12); Multi-Bid Mids (A10, MVC, MWC, WCC, CAA, etc.); and the rest of the One Bid Leagues. I admit there are exceptions to each of these categories but work with me here.

It's clear that the argument is not that BYU is an elite of the elites. But how does BYU rate when compared to the Multi-Bid Mids? Using regular season and NCAA Tournament success, let's look at the last five years and see how BYU compares. Regular season success is gauged not by the old school "win 20 games metric" but a higher level: 25. Win 25 games and you can basically count on getting a shot at the NCAA Tournament. Tournament success is pretty self explanatory. A powerhouse wins 25 games and does not flame out come March.

Let's look at the last five years, tracking 25-win seasons and NCAA Tourney wins:

(TEAM: Regular Season 25+ wins -- NCAA Tourney Appearances -- Wins -- Wins per Appearance)

Butler: Four 25-win seasons - 4 Tourneys, 11 wins

Xavier: Three 25-win seasons - 5 Tourneys, 9 wins

Memphis: Four 25-win seasons - 4 Tourneys, 7 wins (includes those vacated thanks to our boy John Calipari)

VCU: Three 25-win seasons - 3 Tourney, 6 wins

Gonzaga: Five 25-win seasons - 5 Tourneys, 5 wins

BYU: Five 25-win seasons - 5 Tourneys, 3 wins w/o Play-in Game.

Saint Mary's: Five 25-win seasons - 3 Tourneys, 2 wins

San Diego State: Four 25-win seasons - 3 Tourneys, 2 wins

New Mexico: Two 25-win seasons - 2 Tourneys, 2 wins

Creighton: Two 25-win seasons - 1 Tourney, 1 win

UNLV: Three 25-win seasons - 4 Tourneys, 1 win

Wichita State: Three 25-win seasons - 1 Tourney, 0 wins

The great thing about analysis that relies on definitional inference is that you can spin it however you want. BYU is clearly in the middle of the pack when we compared to the Best of the Best in multi-bid MidMajor leagues. BYU is elite when compared to teams not on this list. So, what say you?

(PS - I'm sorry if this post makes no sense or is not statistically conclusory. I went to law school so I didn't have to deal with numbers...yet here I am.)

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