After BYU’s loss to Gonzaga Monday night, BYU found itself without another scheduled game until Thursday, 2/18. BYU’s home games on 2/11 versus St Mary’s and 2/13 versus San Diego were unfortunately cancelled due to COVID cases within those programs. BYU now has 4 WCC games that need to be rescheduled — St Mary’s, San Francisco, and San Diego (x2). The San Diego games are not expected to be rescheduled.
With the San Diego games not expected to be played, BYU has some wiggle room to schedule non-conference games and stay below the 27-game limit for this season. Coach Mark Pope said after Monday’s game that BYU coaches would hit the phones hard in order to find the right game for BYU.
One source inside the program I spoke with said that BYU would only touch Quad 1/Quad 4 games. A quad one game would qualify as a home game versus a top 30 NET team, neutral game versus a top 50 NET team, and road game versus a top 75 NET team. Quad 4 games are largely bottom feeders and would be a game to keep BYU fresh.
The same source specifically mentioned three Quad 1 programs that BYU reached out to (AP rankings in parentheses) — Illinois (6), Texas Tech (7), and Xavier (NR). One team I thought could be likely out of that group was Xavier. The Musketeers are in NCAA tournament projections but haven’t played a game since January 30 due to COVID postponements. Xavier posted 2/5 on the coaches scheduling board on Basketball Travelers that they were looking for a game on 2/11, on which BYU has an opening.
No agreement could be reached with any of the three teams. Texas Tech head coach Chris Beard said the Red Raiders are interested in playing Gonzaga this weekend, but that apparently does not apply to BYU. Gonzaga plays USF on Saturday.
BYU reached out to other Quad One teams (I am not sure exactly how many more or who), but nothing came of those either. The Quad 4 teams BYU reached out to wanted too high of a money guarantee that BYU was unwilling to pay.
One team people have brought up — including myself — is Colorado State. The old MWC foe is ranked 46 in NET and squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble. The Rams last played 2/6 and don’t have a game until 2/20. At this point it seems unlikely BYU will play CSU. The Rams could be a nice win, but they don’t pose the same upside as the three previously mentioned teams. BYU wants a “Slam Dunk” Quad One game and CSU doesn’t really fit that bill.
So as it stands now, BYU likely won’t play a game until 2/18 at Pacific. USF could technically be scheduled for next Monday or Tuesday, but that seems unlikely at this point in order to avoid giving BYU three games next week. Fortunately BYU is squarely in the NCAA tournament field and doesn’t need another game to get on the right side of the bubble, but we’ll likely have to wait until next Thursday to see BYU in action again.