Bracketologist Joe Lunardi Weighed In On BYU’s NCAA Tournament Chances

Jan 11, 2020, 11:25 AM | Updated: 11:27 am
Mark Pope - BYU Basketball...
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope claps his hands as BYU and Cal State Fullerton play a college basketball game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU’s setback last night against Saint Mary’s in overtime was not a crushing blow to the Cougars NCAA Tournament resume. But it was a missed opportunity. What will BYU need to do in order to secure its first NCAA Tournament bid since 2015? ESPN bracketologist shared his thoughts on BYU and the WCC’s potential bids in the big dance.

Maybe even bigger than just receiving a potential at-large bid, how will the NCAA Selection Committee view a BYU team that has been without Yoeli Childs who has missed a majority of the season due to a suspension and now an injury to his finger?

“Player availability is a big issue for the committee, more at the end of the regular season certainly than now,” said Lunardi. “On the court, they’re missing a huge piece. We’ve all seen the numbers and seen the record, BYU is much better with Childs than without.”

Those numbers Lunardi is referencing include BYU’s record with and without Childs, their NET ranking without him, and where they would fit in the NCAA Tournament. With Childs, BYU’s NET ranking is 33rd and without him, it’s at 58.

In Lunardi’s seed-list for bracketing teams, with Childs, BYU is No. 32 and without him, they are No. 83. Currently, BYU is a nine-seed in the Lunardi’s latest bracket released earlier on Friday.

“When you see BYU with Childs, not just wins and losses, the NET ranking and on my board how we seed teams in the bracket updates that’s a pretty big swing to get to an 8-9 game to out of the field entirely.”

It’s not known at this time how long Childs’ dislocated finger will keep him sidelined. BYU head coach Mark Pope said yesterday from Moraga that Childs could be out for a week or two.

WCC: 3-bid league?

Since BYU joined the West Coast Conference in 2011, the WCC has had only one season where they earned three bids into the NCAA Tournament. This year might be the second. According to Lunardi, he sees that happening.

“I think all three of the top teams [in the WCC] will go barring any more catastrophes or injuries or squirrelly calls at the end of the 3rd overtime.”

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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