BYU quickly dispatched Pacific on Thursday night, 80-52, and improved to 16-5, trending towards the NCAA Tournament. The WCC tournament is set to being on March 4 and Selection Sunday is March 14, when the Cougars find out their fate for March Madness.
BYU is looking to play in their first NCAA Tournament since 2015.
Several college basketball experts peg the Cougars with a single-digit seed. Let’s take a look at a few projections on what seed BYU will get and who they might play.
Joe Lunardi (ESPN)
No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 UCLA
Lunardi has BYU as a No. 8 seed in the unenviable 8/9 matchup. BYU has not been a single-digit seed since Jimmer Fredette’s senior year in 2011.
UCLA sits with a similar record to BYU at 15-5 and are 11-3 in PAC-12 play. This would be a big opportunity for the Cougars to play such a storied program early in the tournament. The Bruins boast 11 national titles in their school’s men’s basketball history. These two teams are evenly matched, as to be expected in that seed matchup, with BYU at No. 27 in the BPI and UCLA at No. 40.
The two squads have faced off 22 times with each program winning 11 contests. BYU won their most recent matchup in November of 2019.
Jerry Palm (CBS)
No. 9 seed vs. No. 8 Saint Louis
Like Lunardi, Palm slates BYU in the dreaded 8/9 game (but after going on six years of no NCAA Tournament appearances, BYU can hardly complain). Saint Louis has always been an underrated program out of the Atlantic 10 Conference. They have made the NCAA Tournament four of the last eight years. The Billikens are 11-3 this season and rank 27th in the BPI, two slots behind BYU.
No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 Loyola-Chicago
TeamRankings has a very high opinion of BYU, giving them a 97 percent chance to make the tournament and slots them in the best seed of these projections at No. 7. Here they are the lowest-ranked seventh seed, thus they would play the highest-ranked 10 seed, which is Loyola-Chicago.
Loyola-Chicago is currently 19-4 and higher than BYU in the BPI, at No. 15. This would be anything but an easy first round matchup. They are also just three years removed from their magical run as an 11-seed to the Final Four.
No. 7 vs. No. 10 Xavier
USA Today also has a high opinion of Mark Pope’s squad. They match BYU up with Xavier, another mid-level program with tons of history. They make the tournament nearly every year and 16 of the last 20 years.
The Musketeers are currently 11-4 and No. 44 in the BPI rankings.
However you look at it, it is almost a guarantee that BYU is tournament-bound. The key will be for Mark Pope to get his Cougars playing at a high level before the tournament starts in order to make some noise when the Madness begins.