BYU Basketball: Quick numbers say BYU got shafted

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For those BYU fans still seething about BYU’s play-in slot in this year’s NCAA tournament, here’s some fuel to fire your rage. Below are the objective ratings of the three bubble teams to avoid the play-in games:

RPI (NCAA) BPI (ESPN) KPI (KPI Sports) Sagarin (Jeff Sagarin) Bracket Matrix (ave. seed/# of brackets in)
BYU 36 30 46 36 10.82/85
Indiana 60 46 47 40 11.01/80
Texas 42 40 40 21 10.42/92
UCLA 48 44 72 48 11.27/15

Obviously, UCLA jumps off the page. The Bruins’ RPI and BPI are significantly below BYU’s, and their KPI is off the charts (in a bad way). Most shockingly, though, UCLA was predicted by only 15 of 96 reputable bracketologists to even make the tournament at all.

Texas doesn’t seem to be much to gripe about for BYU fans, but Indiana is another head-scratcher. The Hoosiers’ RPI and BPI are below even UCLA’s and they were predicted by 5 fewer bracketologists than BYU to make the field.

In my humble–and somewhat cynical–opinion, BYU got shafted mostly because of conference affiliation and brand power. When you have to split hairs, the nod will almost always go to the teams that play tougher overall schedules and who have richer basketball histories.

The committee clearly put very little weight on margin of victory in losses. UCLA lost 8 games by double digits, including four games by 18 or more, and Indiana had two 20-point losses, a 14-point loss, and a 16-point loss. All but one of BYU’s losses were within 7 points.

To be clear, I am fine with an 11-seed. It’s actually just below the 12-seed I predicted. What makes me mad is that BYU has to play in a play-in game. That means less rest, more traveling, and less time to prepare for Xavier (their opponent if they beat Ole Miss in the play-in game). Teams like Indiana and UCLA, who had more chances than BYU to build their resume but still came up short, should not be rewarded simply for being Indiana and UCLA.

About the author

Andy Kartchner

I have a Ph.D. in sports analytics. No I don't. But I do have a law degree. And if there's one thing I learned in law school, it's how to write about sports.

I am Big Bro. My brother, Aaron (a.k.a. Little Bro), and I make up the Sports Bros, your one-stop shop for everything BYU sports.