Three Takeaways From BYU’s Beehive Classic Win Over Utah State
SALT LAKE CITY – That was an entertaining way to close out the Beehive Classic. BYU took down Utah State by a score of 68-64 giving the Cougars their eighth consecutive win over the Aggies.
BYU is now 9-4 overall and the season and has three Tier A KenPom victories to help bolster a potential at-large NCAA Tournament resume.
Let’s jump into the three takeaways from BYU’s big win.
#1 Every night different players are stepping up for BYU to win games
BYU has faced one of the 25 toughest schedules in college basketball to this point of the season and they have a 9-4 record because they are getting significant contributions from different players every night. Guard Alex Barcello coming up with a clutch three-pointer in the corner after struggling the first 35 minutes of the game embodies what BYU has been this season. No stage has been too big for this group that is determined to achieve something special this season.
Whether it’s Barcello, Dalton Nixon, Connor Harding, or Zac Seljaas, BYU’s glue guys and role players have come up big when they need them the most.
#2 BYU is putting together a nice NCAA Tournament resume
Wins against Houston, UCLA, Virginia Tech, and now Utah State are some of the best wins BYU has had in the non-conference since they’ve been members of the West Coast Conference and all of those wins have happened in the first seven weeks of the season.
According to TeamRankings.com, BYU is a projected 5-seed for the NCAA Tournament this March. That seems a bit extreme at the moment, but when you consider the strength of schedule BYU has faced so far and the wins they’ve compiled, it’s been pretty impressive thus far. The Cougars are on track to being a team that’s in the at-large conversation if they continue to play well.
BYU has games against Weber State and Oral Roberts to close out the non-conference schedule before opening up the WCC schedule in January.
#3 Best game the Beehive Classic hosted in its three-year run
BYU’s win over Utah State officially shut the door on the Beehive Classic era as the event is now done and the in-state games will be up to the individual universities and athletic departments to put together. The Beehive Classic lacked any sort of sizzle locally as the turnout was subpar, but BYU and Utah State showed what an in-state event on a neutral floor is capable of. A big-time atmosphere that felt like a game being played in the month of March rather than mid-December.
Hopefully, some sort of in-state basketball event can be put together again in the future, but Saturday night was special between the state’s two best teams in the grandest basketball venue our state has to offer. I’ll take more games like that any chance we can get.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.