There is a reason why they call it the Dance. BYU is one of a handful of teams hoping they get invited. It is like waiting for your high school crush to invite you to prom. Better yet, it is like waiting for anyone to ask you to prom.
Since the Jimmer left, BYU has been trying to find a new identity all season and still managed to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. But Senior Noah Hartsock is hurt and the Cougars now have to struggle through more adversity. Will BYU get snubbed this year or can they make it back to the tournament for the 6th straight year? It may depend on everyone else.
Colorado State’s home win against UNLV marks their 3rd home victory against a ranked opponent. But what stands out the most is their road record. Though the Rams are 14-1 in Moby Arena this season they are only 2-9 in true road games. Part of the selection committee’s decision is based on how well you play on the road and Colorado State had some head-scratchers at Northern Iowa (77-83), TCU (89-95 OT), Boise St. (69-70), and Wyoming (51-70). So did the Rams earn a ticket to the party by beating UNLV or did they dig too deep of a hole on the road?
Pac 12 Team X
The Pac 12 is a different animal this year. Really only one team is a lock for the tournament and that team is Cal, whose 23-7 resume’ isn’t all that impressive. The Pac 12 is going to get at least two bids making Washington and Arizona fighting contenders for that slot. If the Pac 12 ends up with three teams in the tournament, Arizona will be the likely third pick. However, two more teams have an outside shot at stealing that bid from the Wildcats. Oregon and Colorado are still in the running to hit 21 wins and if Arizona loses to Arizona State in the season finale, watch out. Analysts like ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb seem to think the Ducks have a good shot. Either way, it’s possible that a third Pac 12 team could snub BYU’s bid.
A near overtime loss to Texas Tech almost dashed the Longhorns’ chances at getting to the Dance. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi still has Texas as one of his last four teams in, but a poor performance at #4 Kansas could knock them out. The Longhorns have had a pretty solid resume’ with the only dud coming early in the season at Oregon State. I would expect Texas to make it in.
The Wildcats had a chance to punch their ticket against Ohio State on Wednesday, but a Jared Sullinger baby hook in the final seconds of the game kept Northwestern on the bubble. Lunardi has NU as one of his last four teams in but a loss at Iowa could chance that.
As if there aren’t enough Big East teams making it in this year, South Florida is still on the bubble. USF has one quality win, which came at Louisville on Wednesday. They also have some blemishes at Old Dominion, Penn State, and Auburn. Besides those, South Florida has lost the games they were expected to lose and won the ones they were favored to win. Lunardi has the Bulls as one of the first four teams out. I have them out, too.
Will BYU Make It?
These teams and others are on the bubble hoping for teams above them to get upset. Unless there are conference tournament upsets, BYU is likely in. Winning their first game in the WCC tournament against Pepperdine or San Diego should put them in and a win against Gonzaga would essentially lock their bid up.