We are just 4 games into to the season, but the analytics and computers are high on BYU after two weeks. With a win over San Diego State and the other 3 wins by 43+ points, BYU is 14th in KenPom and 10th in Evan Miya’s rankings. That San Diego State win carries a little more luster after they smacked Saint Mary’s in Vegas by 25 on Friday night. BYU has an outside shot to crack the AP Top 25 when the next poll comes out Monday.
The competition heats up this week with two Power 6 opponents in Vegas (basketball is referred to as P6 since the Big East is a power conference in hoops). BYU plays Arizona State late Thursday night and will play either NC State or Vanderbilt Friday. I’ll have a more in-depth breakdown later this week, but BYU is the betting favorite going into the tournament. Arizona State has some good athletes and guards on their team, but they haven’t looked particularly impressive through two games. They held on to beat UMass Lowell by two points after racing back from a 10-point deficit in the final two minutes. KenPom ranks ASU 95th and favors BYU by 11 points.
NC State would be the more challenging opponent for BYU on Friday. They’ve won their first three games by an average of 22 points — albeit versus subpar competition — and have 3 capable guards and a huge big man in 6-foot-9, 275 pounds DJ Burns. NC State is 53 in KenPom and Vanderbilt is 135.
Other Non-Conference Games
Utah will be a tough test December 9. Branden Carlson has been great through two weeks and Gabe Madsen is coming off a 29-point versus Houston where he canned eight threes. Utah hasn’t had another consistent scorer outside of those two, but Carlson will be the best player on the floor when BYU goes to Salt Lake.
Below is the KenPom rankings of BYU’s other non-conference opponents and how much they’ve moved since last Sunday.
Fresno State, 12/1 (SLC) — 119 (-6)
Evansville, 12/5 — 240 (+77)
Denver, 12/13 — 264 (+18)
Georgia State, 12/16 — 201 (-7)
Bellarmine, 12/22 — 204 (+33)
Wyoming, 12/30 — 183 (+28)
Through Saturday, Big 12 teams were 44-6 on the season. Half of those losses are from 1-3 Oklahoma State, who has dropped games to Abilene Christian, Saint Bonaventure, and a bad Notre Dame team. Houston is ranked 1 in KenPom and OSU is the lowest at 98. Kansas is ranked 1 in the AP Poll.