College Basketball Bracketologist Slots BYU As No. 6 Seed In His Final Bracket
PROVO, Utah – Without an NCAA Tournament bracket reveal on Sunday, March 15, ESPN college basketball bracketologist Joe Lunardi put out his own bracket and slotted the BYU Cougars as No. 6 seed.
On the morning of March 15, the NCAA announced that it would not released a 2020 bracket after its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were canceled earlier in the week due to coronavirus concerns.
Lunardi replaced the NCAA’s Selection Show with a bracket reveal of his own later that afternoon. In his bracket, Lunardi placed BYU as a No. 6 seed.
The ESPN bracketologist placed the Cougars in the West Region of his bracket. Had the tournament not been canceled, Lunardi projected that BYU would have played against the No. 11 seed Indiana Hoosiers in a second-round matchup in Albany, NY.
Due to concerns of coronavirus, the NCAA canceled its annual basketball tournaments on Thursday, March 12.
“This decision is based on the evolving COVID-19 public health threat, our ability to ensure the events do not contribute to spread of the pandemic, and the impracticality of hosting such events at any time during this academic year given ongoing decisions by other entities,” the statement read.
NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt announced the decision to not reveal brackets on Sunday, March 15.
“Anything less than a credible process is inconsistent with the tradition of the NCAA basketball championships. Brackets based on hypotheticals can’t substitute for a complete selection, seeding and bracketing process,” wrote Gavitt in a statement. “There will always be an asterisk next to the 2020 NCAA men’s and women’s basketball championships regardless if brackets are released. There is not an authentic way to produce tournament fields and brackets at this point without speculating and that isn’t fair to the teams that would be positively or negatively impacted by manufacturing March Madness.”
2020 BYU Basketball
BYU had overcome all of the hurdles thrown their way from suspensions, coaching changes, injuries, sicknesses saw the season come to a close with a 24-8 record and No. 14 ranking when the NCAA announced they would be canceling the tournament that makes March one of the best on the sporting calendar.
“I think it’s been really dynamic and really unpredictable for everybody involved, especially over the last 48 hours,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “I think the toughest thing for me is that our locker room was really, really hard today. As you can imagine. Most of my thoughts are with my guys right now. This is really hard. It’s devastating for them. Especially my seniors.”
BYU had seven seniors on the 2019-20 roster and all of them had unique stories of facing adversity to try and lead BYU back to the NCAA Tournament. Pope was overcome with emotions when thinking about not having the opportunity to coach this group one more time as he reflected on what he learned from his first year as BYU’s head coach.
“There was nothing that could stop this team this year,” Pope said. “It wasn’t suspensions or injuries or a coaching change or roster overhaul or adversity or tough losses or an incredibly difficult schedule. The one thing that stopped this team this year was a pandemic. I do believe that this group was so committed there was nothing that could stop them besides something otherworldly.”
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