BYU COUGARS

Bubble Popped: BYU Basketball Left Out Of 2022 NCAA Tournament

Mar 13, 2022, 4:34 PM | Updated: 4:40 pm
BYU Basketball - Mark Pope...
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Mark Pope holds his head after a big Gonzaga Bulldogs run during the first half of a basketball game in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The 2022 BYU basketball team will not be dancing in March. BYU was left out of the 2022 Men’s NCAA Tournament field after the 68-team bracket was unveiled on Selection Sunday.

It’s the first time BYU has missed the NCAA Tournament since 2019. Although the 2020 season ended up canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, BYU was projected to be a single-digit seed that season.

Teams that got in over BYU

BYU finished the 2021-22 season with a 22-10 record overall. Teams with similar profiles to BYU and fewer victories over Quad 1 and Quad 2 teams, still got into the tournament over the Cougars. Notre Dame from the ACC snuck as one of the “Last Four In” to the field of 68. BYU finished the year with seven victories over Quad 1 and Quad 2 opponents. The Irish only had four and were just one spot in front of BYU in both the NET and KenPom ratings.

Rutgers is the team that Notre Dame will face. The Scarlet Knights were No. 77 in the NET entering the day and had a Quad 4 loss like BYU, but boasted nine victories against Q1 & Q2 teams and were No. 4 in the final Big Ten regular-season rankings.

BYU wasn’t particularly close to getting into the field of 68. The first four teams left out of the bracket were Dayton, Oklahoma, SMU, and Texas A&M.

Season snapshot for BYU basketball

BYU basketball started the season climbing as high as No. 12 in the AP Top 25 poll, jumping out to a 6-0 start. Then injuries began to pile up for BYU with season-ending setbacks to frontcourt starters Gavin Baxter and Richard Harward.

Despite the injuries, BYU entered late January with a record of 17-4 and appearing as a lock for another NCAA Tournament. But then Mark Pope’s squad went on a four-game losing streak that included a devastating loss to Pacific on January 29.

BYU didn’t beat a Quad 1 or Quad 2 team in the final two months of the season.

Mark Pope kicked the tires on a potential Quad 1 non-conference opportunity late in the season to enhance his team’s tournament resume. Instead, they opted to put their chances in making a run in the WCC Tournament.

BYU earned a Quad 1 opportunity against San Francisco in the quarterfinals of that tournament but suffered a 12-point setback on March 5.

Since BYU joined the West Coast Conference in 2011-12, the Cougars have earned only four NCAA Tournament bids. In addition, the Cougars have only appeared once in the Big Dance since 2015.

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.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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