BYU COUGARS

NCAA Committee Dropped BYU Down To No. 6 Seed Because Of ‘No Sunday’ Rule

Mar 17, 2024, 10:14 PM | Updated: Mar 18, 2024, 2:47 pm

PROVO, Utah— BYU basketball was the highest-rated 5-seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, yet they ended up with a 6-seed.

What happened?

It’s pretty simple and a tidbit that is often overlooked when forecasting BYU in Bracketology projections.

BYU has a rule that its athletic teams do not compete on Sundays. The Cougars “No Sunday” policy dropped BYU down to a 6-seed.

BYU was rated the 17th overall team in the NCAA’s seed lines, but they landed a 6-seed.

The Cougars have always been among the trickiest teams to slide into the NCAA Tournament.

Coming out of the Big 12 Conference has made it even trickier for the Selection Committee to place BYU in the Big Dance. This season, eight teams from the Big 12 received NCAA bids, tied with the SEC for the most by one league this season.

Typically, the NCAA Committee looks to avoid potential conference rematches in the Round of 32.

There’s a history of BYU basketball getting peculiar arrangements in the NCAA Tournament. In 2003, the Committee placed BYU in a region funneling into a Friday/Sunday regional.

Had BYU been able to get by UConn and advance to the Sweet 16 that year, they would have switched regionals.

In 2008 and 2009, BYU played a repeat opponent in Texas A&M. Then, in 2014, they lined up against an Oregon team they faced in the regular season.

NCAA Committee Chairman told CBS’ Clark Kellogg that BYU basketball moved down because of Sunday play

CBS Sports’ Clark Kellogg said as much during a CBS Sports Network program breaking down the 2024 NCAA Tournament field. X user @rainorsnow captured the video below.

Kellogg was asked by CBS analyst Wally Szczerbiak how Gonzaga climbed to a 5-seed.

“Well, [NCAA] Committee Chair Charles McClelland told us that Gonzaga was a 6-seed and got moved up because BYU had to be on that Thursday/Saturday rotation because BYU could not play on Sundays,” said Kellogg on CBS Sports Network. “I know that’s not a big difference, but that was part of it.”

Gonzaga pulled down the 5-seed in Salt Lake City at the Delta Center, which will later funnel into a Friday/Sunday regional in the Midwest region. That sent BYU to the East Region as a 6-seed to face 11-seed Duquesne Dukes.

BYU coach Mark Pope reacts to No. 6 seed

KSL Sports asked BYU coach Mark Pope on Sunday if the NCAA Selection Committee explained if “No Sunday” play was the lone factor in the drop.

“I don’t know. And I don’t know if we’ll ever get an explanation on that. It seemed like a significant bump,” said Pope. “You would think if it were a No Sunday (rule), you would think there’s going to be one or two Saturday five-seeds. I think that out of the top 36 teams, we were the only team that was not seeded correctly based on the selection committee’s list of how they rank teams.”

BYU draws the lowest-rated 11-seed in the 2024 NCAA Tournament

The opening round draw that BYU received based on predictive ratings seems favorable. Duquesne is the lowest-rated 11 seed in the field.

The Dukes are 83rd in the NET rankings, 61 spots lower than fellow 11-seed New Mexico. By comparison, BYU entered Selection Sunday at No. 12 in the NET.

The winner out of BYU/Duquesne on Thursday will face either 3-seed Illinois or 14-seed Morehead State on Saturday.

Bracketologist Rocco Miller from The Field of 68 Media Network believes that the Committee slotted Duquesne on the 11-seed line based on the resume of Atlantic-10 Tournament finalist VCU, not the Dukes.

 

Regardless, 6-11 upsets happen all the time in the NCAA Tournament. BYU lost as a 6-seed to 11-seed UCLA three years ago in the Big Dance.

Mark Pope knows his team must be ready to play on Thursday morning in Omaha.

“The only thing that matters to us is that we’re in this thing, and we get a chance to go play,” said Pope. “We’re playing against a great team, and we’re going to try and go play great.”

BYU vs. Duquesne

2024 NCAA Tournament – First Round

Location: Omaha, Nebraska

Arena: CHI Health Center

Tip-Off: 10:40 a.m. (MT)/11:40 a.m. (CT)

TV: TruTV

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM in Utah)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com 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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NCAA Committee Dropped BYU Down To No. 6 Seed Because Of ‘No Sunday’ Rule