BYU destroyed the Portland Pilots 105-60 on Thursday night. While a win does not move BYU up much in anyone’s rankings, it solidifies their position as a tournament team.
Let’s take a look at where the national media projects BYU will land for March Madness.
No. 9 seed vs. No. 8 Louisville
This is the second time in a week Lunardi has released a bracket with the Cougars squaring off against Louisville in the always-impossible-to-predict 8/9 game. BYU has not been a single-digit seed in the tournament since Jimmer Fredette’s senior year in 2011 (though most would assume last year’s squad would have gotten that honor before COVID wrecked March Madness).
Playing against Louisville would a daunting task, even if they are not as formidable as they once were. They are among the top brands in college basketball and currently sit at 11-4 with a win over a ranked Virginia Tech under their belt. They won the national title in 2013 and are usually in the tournament every year. The Cardinals rank below BYU in ESPN’s BPI at No. 45. It seems this would be an even matchup, which is expected in this seeding pair.
These two teams have squared off four times before, last in 2007, with BYU beating No. 6 Louisville in Las Vegas 78-76. They have split the four meetings.
No. 8 seed vs. No. 9 Seton Hall
TeamRankings gives the Cougars a 92 percent chance at making the tournament and places them as the highest-ranked eight seed. This is the highest anyone has BYU among the major bracket projections.
Seton Hall sits at 10-8 having played a tough schedule, including four ranked teams. The Pirates have made the tournament four straight years and are a well-run program.
BYU and Seton Hall have met three times, but not since 2006 when BYU won 77-68.
No. 10 seed vs. No. 7 Michigan State
This is another bracket that slates BYU against a basketball blue-blood. This is one of several brackets that have the Cougars as a 10 seed. Michigan State is 8-7 with a road win at Duke this season.
The Cougars and Spartans have met eight times and have split the meetings, with MSU winning the most recent matchup in 2007.
No. 10 seed vs. No. 7 Clemson
Jerry Palm also has BYU as a 10 seed, but against the Tigers of the ACC. These days, they are certainly a football school but they do own an 11-5 record on the hardwood.
These two squads have not met since 1990.
The Cougars clearly are building a resume as a tournament team this March. They have an enormous opportunity to not only likely secure their spot in the bracket but also catapult their seeding to the mid-single digits with a win over No. 1 Gonzaga. The Bulldogs and Cougars square off in Provo on Monday night.