The Madness of March is Upon Us — BYU Dances Again

March 16, 2009    By: Geoff J @ 12:01 am   Category: Sports

Another year, another #8 seed for the Cougars of BYU. The BYU Men’s Basketball got their official at-large invitation to the Big Dance (aka the NCAA basketball tournament) today. Oddly, BYU as a #8 seed has the same #9 seed first round opponent as last year, Texas A&M. BYU lost last year.

The good news is that I am convinced that this BYU team is stronger than the team was last year. Four of five starters are back and the team has been solid this year.

Anyone remember the last time BYU won a game in the Big Dance? I do. My old college buddy Keith reminded me today that we watched the game together in 1993 in the Wilkinson Center (in the dearly-departed Memorial Lounge I believe). That was too long ago. Will this be the year BYU breaks the first round curse that has plagued it since 1993? I sure hope so…


  1. It is strange that they have the same opponent. I thought the commitee tried to avoid that.

    Unfortunately, as an 8 seed, if you win you go right up against the #1 seed in the second round.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — March 16, 2009 @ 8:44 am

  2. If they can just win their first game that will be amazing. I’m pretty hopeful (even though 8 seeds typically lose more often than 9 seeds).

    Comment by Kent (MC) — March 16, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  3. I just found out through an email from the BYU alumni association that the game is in Philadelphia, which is reasonable driving distance for me. But the tickets they’re offering are $70. I’m tempted but I’m really poor. Add gas, parking, and cheese steaks and it’s you’re easily up to $100.

    Just wanted to complain. Go cougs!

    P.S. if anyone in the Baltimore/DC area wants to carpool and pay for me, I’m game. I’ll buy cheese steaks.

    Comment by Tom — March 16, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  4. Tavernari’s been cooling off, he needs to start making his shots. And everyone needs to start playing in the first half.

    I look forward to Arizona upsetting Utah. I’m tired of Utah representing the MWC.

    SDSU is a #1 seed for the NIT, it’d be great to see them take it.

    Comment by Eric Russell — March 16, 2009 @ 11:30 am

  5. Yeah Eric, my Aztecs got hosed (my other alma mater). I’m really bummed about that. In fact I think Arizona stole SDSU’s bid. For that reason, and for loyalty to the MWC, I would prefer to see Utah win that game.

    I agree about the shooting. BYU needs to get hot at the right time. When this team is hitting shots they are deadly. The problem is they have stunk up the first half of their last 6+ games. That won’t fly in the big dance.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 16, 2009 @ 11:36 am

  6. Call me a conspiracy theorist when it comes to small conference champions and BYU, but I am convinced that the seeding committee has a conscious pattern when it comes to these schools.

    BYU plays by its own rules and limits what the committee is able to do by refusing to play on Sunday. Therefore, as a punishment, they always get seeded #8 – specifically so they have to face a #1 if they win their first game. It’s like the committee says, “Fine. You want a special exemption; we’ll give you THIS exemption.”

    Many of the small conference champs could win an opening round game if they were seeded to play the 4th-7th place teams from the power conferences. Instead, they get #13-#16 seeds, meaning they have to play the best of the best and nearly always lose in the first round – thus giving the committee a justification for seeding them in that range again the next year.

    My solution is to require the committee to take the conference champs (regular season champs first, tournament champs second) and seed them first in the top half of the brackets, then seed all the non-champion teams below them. That would give the small conference champs a fighting chance to win at least one game.

    Ego and greed probably will make sure that never happens, but . . .

    Comment by Ray — March 16, 2009 @ 1:27 pm

  7. Correction: BYU always gets seeded #8 or #9.

    Comment by Ray — March 16, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  8. Andy Katz has now mentioned in a couple of articles that the rematch is BYU’s fault. It’s true that BYU has boxed themselves into that particular 8-seed, as the other three 8-slots potentially lead to a Sunday game. But why couldn’t Texas A&M move? Why lay it all on BYU?

    I think there needs to be more transparency in the selection process. We’re always hearing about all the debate and thoughtful consideration that goes into it, I don’t see why they can’t tell us what was discussed and why each decision was made.

    Comment by Eric Russell — March 16, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

  9. Yes Ray, I’m afraid you are a conspiracy theorist on this one.

    While I do think BYU takes a hit for being from the MWC and doesn’t do itself any favors for refusing to play on Sunday, an 8 seed is probably pretty close to what they expected. And with so many spots feeding into Sunday games eventually there are limited spots to place BYU even though the odds of BYU making it far are very slim. I don’t think the committee chair folk care enough about BYU to torpedo the school.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 16, 2009 @ 6:24 pm

  10. As a Ute, I can’t help but understand how many of you must feel as the “crazy free-thinkers” of your Gospel Doctrine class when BYU sports discussions arise here. I feel so labeled and judged for my radical ways. Haha! Something to think about…Eric. ; )

    Comment by Riley — March 16, 2009 @ 9:18 pm

  11. Well, so much for BYU winning a first round game.

    (I write this with hopes that it will cause karma and the Cougs will come roaring back to prove me wrong.)

    Comment by Ben — March 19, 2009 @ 11:02 am

  12. With 8 minutes left the team is embarrassing itself out there. Can’t hit a stinkin’ shot.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 19, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  13. Defense is terrible too.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 19, 2009 @ 11:15 am

  14. What a mess that was.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 19, 2009 @ 11:34 am

  15. Thus ends a disappointing year for BYU football and hoops. Not because the teams didn’t do well — rather because there were high expectations that weren’t met.

    Comment by Geoff J — March 19, 2009 @ 7:59 pm