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BYU Basketball: Late-Season Streak Puts Cougars in Favorable Bubble Position

Published by Bleacher Report on Wed, 04 Mar 2015

A month ago, BYU's NCAA tournament hopes looked next to impossible. The Cougars added a fifth WCC loss to their resumetheir second this year to Pepperdineand seemingly needed to win the conference tournament to get into the Big Dance.But what a difference a month can make. Since that February 5 loss to the Waves, BYU has rattled off six straight victories, including big wins over St. Mary's and No. 3 Gonzaga. The latter may have secured them an at-large bid in the tournament, according to Bleacher Report's college basketball expert, Kerry Miller."I think the big win over Gonzaga really helped them," said Miller. "A road win over an RPI top 10 is certainly not a dime a dozen. Thats one of the best resume-building wins that any bubble team in the country is going to have."At this point, there's a solid chance that BYU could make the NCAA tourney, regardless of how far they get in the WCC tournament. But getting to the conference championship may be just enough to secure them a bid into the Big Dance."I think they need to get to the finals of the WCC tourney (to get an at-large bid)," Miller noted. "It would really help if they get a second win over St. Marys in the semifinals, and that may be enough to get them in, win or lose against Gonzaga in the championship. ...Regardless, it woulddefinitely be in their best interest to win the whole conference tournament and erase any question (of missing the NCAA tourney)."Falling short of the tournament completely for the second time in three years would be an ugly blow, especially with the talent on this year'ssquad. Tyler Haws is BYU's all-time leading scorer, and Kyle Collinsworth is arguably the most versatile player in college basketball, with five triple-doubles this season alone. Many think that it would be a shame to have the Cougars fall short of a bid in the Big Dance, but Miller thinks otherwise."I wouldnt call it a shame (if they dont make the tournament). We'd be a little robbed, not getting to see (Haws and Collinsworth) play on the big stage. I think we were robbed by Collinsworths torn ACL last season. That could've been a pretty decent team. They ended up getting a No. 10 seed, but yeah, they couldve done damage. I never say its a shame if someone misses the tournament. They get their opportunities."Should BYU make the tournament, they have a good enough offense to do some damage. But it comes down to where, and if, the selection committee decides to include them on the bracket."It certainly depends on the draw," Miller stated. "Their defense kind of hurts them...they have an outstanding offense, but not a great defense. That usually ends up not really cutting it in the tournament, but for one game, maybe two, it could certainly work.When youre one of the highest-scoring teams in the country, you can sometimes make up for some poor defense."
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