For the second consecutive year, BYU will be the 5 seed in the WCC Tournament. Below is the full Men’s bracket, with play beginning Thursday, March 2. All times are Eastern Time. BYU’s first game on Friday can be seen on BYUtv.
All things considered this is about the best scenario BYU could have hoped for as the 5 seed. BYU will open Friday versus Portland or San Diego, who BYU beat in each of their lone meetings. Portland will be healthier this time around, however. The Pilots were without their two leading scorers when they played BYU and beat Villanova this year when healthy.
If BYU gets past that game, they will face 4 seed LMU. BYU split the season series with the Lions, losing by 5 in LA and winning by 28 in Provo. LMU beat both Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga this year, but also lost a handful of games to lower-level WCC teams. Guard Cam Shelton is on a tear and is one of the nation’s best scorers, but BYU matches up better with LMU than they do Santa Clara. LMU is a good team, but BYU would likely be a slight favorite.
BYU lost by 1 to Saint Mary’s in Provo and took the Gaels down to the wire in Moraga before losing by 6. BYU will likely have to beat both Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga if they want to win the WCC Tournament, but playing the Gaels in the semis is probably more preferrable since I think BYU has a better chance of winning that game. Win that game, and you likely get the Zags in the finals or Santa Clara if they can pull the upset.
BYU hasn’t won a conference tournament since 2001, and they’ll need to win their final one as a WCC member if they want to make the NCAA Tournament. BYU is probably on the outside looking in for getting into the NIT, so just getting to the Finals may be the only way BYU has a chance to even play in the NIT.
BYU is third highest ranked WCC team according to KenPom. Below are the KenPom rankings, as of 2/26. Teams seeding are in parentheses.
8 — Saint Mary’s (1)
10 — Gonzaga (2)
77 — BYU (5)
82 — Santa Clara (3)
102 — LMU (4)
108 — San Francisco (6)
163 — Portland (8)
168 — Pepperdine (10)
192 — Pacific (7)
214 — San Diego (9)