With two additional non-conference games, BYU has beefed up its out-of-conference slate from previous years.
The AP preseason top 25 poll was released Monday, and three BYU opponents are ranked in the top 20. WCC foe Gonzaga received its highest preseason ranking ever at number three and received a first place vote. Sweet 16 team Nevada came in at number seven and December 29 foe Mississippi State is ranked 18.
Former MWC and WAC rival San Diego State was in the “others receiving votes” category and received 9 votes. BYU will play at SDSU December 22.
In addition to the teams above, BYU plays KenPom top 100 teams Houston, Utah and Illinois State and has a matchup in Vegas versus another old MWC and WAC rival in UNLV.
BYU’s November 6 opener versus 7th-ranked Nevada will come against preseason All-American Caleb Martin, who was one of six players named to the AP preseason All-American team. Gonzaga forward Rui Hacimura received votes and would have made the second team if the AP made that designation.
With the stronger non-conference schedule, BYU now has more opportunities to add resume-building wins and give themselves more room for error if/when they have bad losses in WCC play.
You can get your first glimpse of BYU versus an opposing team tomorrow night, October 24, in BYU’s first exhibition game versus Saint Martin’s.