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A Cougar Fan's Guide to Championship Week

Who to root for (and against) this week as BYU tries to beat the bubble.

Haws and the Cougars are looking to jump into the NCAA Tourney
Haws and the Cougars are looking to jump into the NCAA Tourney
William Mancebo

OK, so the WCC tournament didn't exactly end well. An 11-point loss to Gonzaga means the Cougars will have to sweat it out until Sunday to see if they make the NCAA Tournament. To make matters worse, Kyle Collinsworth's season-ending knee injury hurts BYU's profile with the selection committee. Not saying that's fair, just a reality the Cougar Nation has to deal with. We won't know until Sunday if BYU did enough to get an at-large bid, but in the mean time, there's still a lot more basketball to be played around the country which can either help or hurt the Cougar's chances.

By my count, there are still 19 conferences that still need to hand out their auto-bids. Of those 19, nine are basically irrelevant because they will be (in all likelihood) one-bid leagues no matter what. Obviously, BYU doesn't want fellow bubble teams to do well in their tournaments, but they also can't have any Cinderellas stealing bids either. So without further ado, a Cougar fan's guide to the remaining ten relevant auto-bid chases:

American (AAC)

Potential troublemakers - Houston. These other Cougars didn't do enough to get an at-large, but are two wins away from stealing a bid.

Fellow bubble teams - N/A

Send good vibes to - Louisville. The defending National Champs play Houston tonight and are already a lock for the tourney. The winner of Cincinnati and UCONN (both locks) would be the last line of defense if the Ville can't get it done.

Atlantic 10

Potential troublemakers - St. Bonaventure, Richmond. The Bonnies made some noise this afternoon when they shocked one-seed - and tourney lock - St. Louis. Richmond, meanwhile gets two-seed VCU tonight.

Fellow bubble teams - St. Joseph's, Dayton. St. Joe's pulled one out today against Dayton, which is probably a good thing because they were the weaker of the two profiles. Dayton probably stays on the bubble, but the loss today certainly doesn't help. St. Joseph's gets St. Bonaventure in the semis tomorrow. BYU's best case scenario is probably the Bonnies making the A10 Championship Game, but ultimately losing.

Send good vibes to - VCU, George Washington, UMASS. All three are locks to take part in the Madness, so the Cougars need one of them to win this tournament.


Potential troublemakers - NC State, Clemson. The Wolfpack gets Syracuse and the Tigers get Duke in tonight's quarterfinal doubleheader.

Fellow bubble teams - Florida State, Pittsburgh. FSU got beat soundly by one-seed Virginia today, so BYU doesn't really have to worry about them anymore. Pitt, meanwhile, beat North Carolina which unfortunately means that they'll probably get in.

Send good vibes to - Virginia, Syracuse. I'm not quite ready to forgive the Cavs for ruining the first week of football season, but they did the Cougs a solid by beating Florida State. Hopefully their next step will be to blowout Pitt. Syracuse is also a lock... and Duke should never get good vibes.

Big 12

Potential troublemakers - N/A

Fellow bubble teams - N/A

Send good vibes to - Texas. Remember when BYU beat Texas? That means the better the Longhorns look, the better that win looks to the committee. Hook 'em. (Texas plays Baylor tonight in the semis)

Big East

Potential troublemakers - Seton Hall. The Pirates took down one-seed Villanova at the buzzer and plays Providence in the semis.

Fellow bubble teams - Xavier, Providence. Xavier has a better profile than Providence, so they're probably in already... but it can't hurt to root against them. The Friars are squarely on the bubble, so a loss to Seton Hall might be fatal to them. BYU's best case is Seton Hall beating Providence, but losing in the Championship Game.

Send good vibes to - Creighton. And not just because Dougy McBuckets is so fun to watch. The Blue Jays are by far BYU's best-case to win this tournament.

Big Ten

Potential troublemakers - Northwestern. The Wildcats showed heart beating Iowa in the first round. They get Michigan State tonight in the quarterfinals.

Fellow bubble teams - Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota. Most don't have Iowa on the bubble, but they're 1-6 in their last seven games. In a perfect world, maybe the committee considers that an unpardonable sin. Nebraska's choke job against Ohio State makes things interesting. Even though the Huskers probably have a good enough profile, their loss today could do wonders for the Cougars. Minnesota is sitting on the bubble and gets Wisconsin tonight.

Send good vibes to - Wisconsin, Michigan State. These two have a chance to knock off a bubble team and a troublemaker. BYU needs them to take care of business. In Wisconsin's case, it'd be nice if it was in blowout fashion.

Conference USA

Potential troublemakers - Middle Tennessee, Tulsa. This one is tricky. These two play each other in the semis, but neither are close to being a bubble team. That means one of them will be in the Championship Game, which leaves a very real possibility of bid thievery.

Fellow bubble teams - Louisiana Tech, Southern Miss. This is your other semi-final game today. BYU would love for one or both of these teams to look awful for the committee.

Send good vibes to - the winner of LTU/USM. C-USA will probably still be a one-bid league when it's all said and done, but you can't be too careful. One of these teams needs to win the auto-bid.

Mountain West

Potential troublemakers - Boise State, UNLV. Neither has a very strong at-large case. The Rebels get San Diego State and the Broncos get New Mexico today in the semis.

Fellow bubble teams - N/A

Send good vibes to - San Diego State, New Mexico. *shudder* Let me go wash my hands. These are the only two locks for the tourney, and it's in BYU's best interest to keep the Mountain West a two-bid league.


Potential troublemakers - N/A

Fellow bubble teams - California. The Golden Bears lost to Colorado yesterday, which likely makes them NIT bound. Good news for the Cougars.

Send good vibes to - Stanford. BYU beat the Cardinal, so same logic in rooting for Texas. If they look good, the Cougars look good.


Potential troublemakers - LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia. As if you needed another reason to root against Marshall Henderson. LSU plays Kentucky in today's quarterfinals. Georgia and Ole Miss play each other in the nightcap.

Fellow bubble teams - Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas. Lots of experts have Tennessee still on the bubble, but I think they're win over South Carolina today puts them in. Mizzou and Arkansas are already knocked out, which really hurts their bubble chances. Good news for BYU.

Send good vibes to - Tennessee. You know what? I know they're technically a fellow bubble team, but the Vols are probably in anyway. I can't in good conscience send good vibes to Florida or Kentucky. Just as long as they beat the teams they're supposed to, the Cougars should be fine.

Let us know if we missed anyone that we should be watching before selection Sunday!

**Updated with Potential troublemakers who lost being crossed out**