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BYU Basketball Enters AP Top 25 Prior To 2021 NCAA Tournament

Brigham Young Cougars guard Alex Barcello (13) yells after drawing a foul form the San Francisco Dons in Provo on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. BYU won 79-73. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – After receiving a 6-seed in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, it only feels appropriate that BYU basketball now enters the AP Top 25.

The Associated Press released its final national rankings before the Big Dance, and the 20-6 BYU Cougars checked in at No. 23. It’s the first time during the 2020-21 season that the AP has ranked BYU.

BYU was tied with USC for the No. 23 ranking. BYU fans probably couldn’t envision being tied with USC for anything this year after the Trojans crushed the Cougars by 26 last December in the Connecticut bubble.

Four of BYU’s six losses this season were against teams currently in the Top 25. USC and three losses to No. 1 Gonzaga.

The AP Top 25 began ranking college basketball teams in 1949. This week’s No. 23 ranking for BYU marks only the 21st season in program history that the Cougars have appeared in the national AP poll at least once.

It’s the second consecutive year BYU has found itself in the rankings. The last time BYU had back-to-back years with Top 25 appearances was 2010 and 2011. Both of those BYU teams, led by Jimmer Fredette, went on to win games in the NCAA Tournament.

For weeks, BYU was knocking on the door of the national rankings. They were the first team in the receiving votes category for the past two polls.

BYU will be in action on Saturday in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and they’ll face the winner of the First Four action between college basketball bluebloods Michigan State and UCLA. Tip-off is at 7:40 p.m. (MT) and will be televised on CBS and heard on KSL NewsRadio, your legacy home of the BYU Cougars.

BYU Basketball checks in to final AP Top 25 before NCAA Tournament

Week of March 15th, 2021

1. Gonzaga (26-0)

2. Illinois (23-6)

3. Baylor (22-2)

4. Michigan (20-4)

5. Alabama (24-6)

6. Houston (24-3)

7. Ohio State (21-9)

8. Iowa (21-8)

9. Texas (19-7)

10. Arkansas (22-6)

11. Oklahoma State (20-8)

12. Kansas (20-8)

13. West Virginia (18-9)

14. Florida State (16-6)

15. Virginia (18-6)

16. San Diego State (23-4)

17. Loyola Chicago (24-4)

18. Villanova (16-6)

19. Creighton (20-8)

20. Purdue (18-9)

21. Texas Tech (17-10)

22. Colorado (22-8)

T-23. BYU (20-6)

T-23. USC (22-7)

25. Virginia Tech (15-6)

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 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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