Mark Pope Credits Taylor Swift Stat For BYU’s Big 12 Tournament Win

Mar 13, 2024, 4:13 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – BYU basketball head coach Mark Pope doesn’t hide from his fandom of superstar Taylor Swift.

The “Swiftie” leading BYU through its first-ever Big 12 Tournament brought up Swift on Wednesday after his team defeated UCF 87-73 in the Second Round of the tourney.

Mark Pope is a diehard Taylor Swift fan

“I didn’t share this with the guys before, but this is really important,” said Pope in his press conference after defeating UCF. “When I was in this building seven months ago, I talked about how we were excited to be picked 13 because it’s Taylor Swift’s favorite number.”

Who can forget that moment from Big 12 Media Day last October by Pope? Pope mentioned he attended Taylor Swift’s concert last summer with his daughters and felt being picked 13th in the league was a good sign for his team.

He was right.

BYU finished the regular season in fifth place and won its first game in the Big 12 Tournament.

The power of 13

Pope continued after the win over UCF, “This morning I found out, courtesy of the greatest statistician SID ever (Tyson Jex), that our first game against UCF was on January 13th, our second game was on February 13th, and so we knew that with our third game on March 13th, like, the deck was stacked against these guys, man, it’s not even fair. It’s not even fair.”

Any mention of Taylor Swift always resonates slightly stronger in Kansas City, thanks to the fact that Swift is dating Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce.

“Plus, we’re in Kansas City. I mean, what? It’s beautiful,” Pope said as he turned to players Fousseyni Traore and Richie Saunders. “If I had told you guys that before the game, would you be like, our dude has lost his mind?”

Traore, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds while also shutting down UCF big man Ibrahima Diallo to zero points and zero rebounds, responded to his coach, “A little bit.”

BYU will look to harness the power of Taylor Swift tomorrow in Kansas City as they take on Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament Quarterfinals.

The tip-off for BYU vs. Texas Tech is at 10:30 a.m. (MT) on ESPN2 and KSL NewsRadio.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Mark Pope Credits Taylor Swift Stat For BYU’s Big 12 Tournament Win