Going in to selection Sunday BYU was rumored to be on the bubble for the NCAA Tournament and boy were they ever. When the selection committee revealed their 1-through-68 rankings the Cougars came in at No. 67 with their play-in game opponent Iona in the final slot. Three thoughts on BYU’s selection:
1. Embarrassment. I honestly felt they didn’t deserve to reach the Tourney but due to the mediocrity in the sport overall who else really deserved to be in over them? In some ways though it’s almost better they didn’t get a bid to begin with. Going from the success they had last season to a play-in game with really no realistic shot to go any farther after is almost embarrassing for such a proud program. The counter to that is the experience the players can gain with the hope it will help them for next year.
2. The WCC vs. the MWC. It’s hard to ignore the fact that BYU’s former league, the Mountain West Conference, received four bids (two receiving a 6-seed and one a five) and a ton of respect from the committee and so-called basketball experts while the WCC received three (St. Mary’s and Gonzaga getting 7-seeds). It tells me if BYU would have played in the MWC they definitely would have gotten more respect but on the other hand they wouldn’t have made the Tourney because they would have lost more games since the MWC top-to-bottom is the better conference. One thing is clear–while football proclaims it being a positive to go independent the basketball program definitely suffers being in the WCC.
3. At least BYU gets to play in front of President Obama on Tuesday. That would have never happened if they wouldn’t have gotten into the play-in game. So I’m sure the typically conservative BYU fan base is really excited for that. Here’s hoping they get a team picture with him that they could display proudly in their Cougar wall of fame–or not.