BYU is riding a three-game winning streak after defeating Pacific, Loyola Marymount, and San Francisco. They sit at 18-5 and in second place in the WCC. In ESPN’s BPI rankings, BYU comes in at No. 27 and are 24th in the KenPom rankings and 25 in NET.
Mark Pope’s squad is nearly a lock for the NCAA Tournament, with just one regular season game remaining this Saturday against Saint Mary’s. Most pundits have the Cougars with a single-digit seed, which has not happened since Jimmer Fredette’s senior season at 2011.
Let’s take a look at some of the major bracket projections and where they see BYU fitting into March Madness.
No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 VCU
Joe Lunardi has BYU earning a seven seed in the tournament. This is a slot above where he had the Cougars last week, when they were still in the 8/9 seeding matchup. They would play the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth. This is no slouch of a program, currently at 17-5. They are No. 63 in the BPI rankings.
VCU has some name recognition thanks to their magical run in 2011 when the Rams defeated No. 1 Kansas in the Elite Eight to reach the Final Four. They have made the tournament in seven of the last eight seasons after that as well.
These two teams have met just once, when BYU won 81-77 in 1983.
No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 Colorado
Jerry Palm still has BYU in that dreaded 8/9 game, where it is basically a coin flip. In this bracket, the winner of this game would very likely take on the No. 1 seed Ohio State.
Colorado is currently 18-7 and has not been to the NCAA Tournament since 2016. BPI has a very high opinion of the Buffs, with a No. 17 ranking. They have beaten two ranked teams this season. This would be an enormous challenge for BYU in their first tournament game. Cougar fans should hope they get a better draw than this game.
No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 Xavier
USA TODAY maintains their projection from last week. Xavier is a 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.
No. 7 seed vs. No. 10 North Carolina
TeamRankings also slates BYU as a No. 7 seed. This would be a daunting matchup, even with North Carolina playing well below their program standard. They are normally the gold standard of college basketball. They seem like a team that might be dangerous once they get in the tournament. They may remember that they are North Carolina even though they are a worse seed.
BPI sees them as almost even with BYU, at No. 31. They play in the brutal ACC and will play the Cougars already very battle tested. This is a program with six national titles to their name and one as recently as 2017. UNC and BYU have squared off five times with the Tar Heels winning all five contests.
There are certainly more favorable 10-seed matchups if BYU does indeed get the seventh seed.