BYU basketball tips off the regular season 22 days from now when the Cougars host Idaho State November 7. BYU was picked to finish tied for third in the WCC with USF by the league’s coaches, but one prominent analytics site is higher on the Cougars.
KenPom — widely regarded as the go-to college basketball analytics — released its first rankings of the 2021-2022 season and has BYU ranked 44 out of 363 D1 teams. This is second highest preseason ranking in Mark Pope’s 4 years as BYU head coach. BYU started 71 in 2019-2020 before finishing 13, started 88 in 2020-2021 season before finishing 20, and started 38 last season before finishing 58.
BYU is the second highest ranked team in the WCC behind Gonzaga at 3 and ahead of Saint Mary’s at 47, San Francisco at 101, and Santa Clara at 114. The WCC may not be quite as good of the top as last year, but the middle looks to be solid. 8 of the 10 teams are in the top 150 and 9 of the 10 are in the top 200.
KenPom predicts BYU to finish with a 22-7 record and 11-5 finish in the WCC. BYU will play two additional games in the Battle for Atlantis tournament and play 31 total regular season games. The Cougars will get a tough test the first week of the season when they hit the road to play 19th-ranked San Diego State on November 11. KenPom gives BYU a 28% win probability in that game.
We’ll see how BYU’s season shapes out, but KenPom is higher on BYU than most other pundits seem to be. BYU returns key pieces in Fousseyni Traore, Gideon George, Spencer Johnson, and Atiki Ally Atiki and adds impact transfers Rudi Williams, Noah Waterman, and Jaxson Robinson, who all factor into BYU’s preseason rating.
If BYU was in the 14-team Big 12 this season, they would have the 9th-highest rating of the 14 teams. UCF would the lowest at 85 and 7 of the 14 teams are in the top 30. The Big 12 is once again rated as the top conference heading into the season.
BYU’s season-opening opponent Idaho State is rated 345 — BYU has a 99% win probability and is predicted to win 81-55.