BYU Basketball: Why Covid may result in BYU missing the Big Dance

Dec 11, 2021; Sioux Falls, South Dakota, USA; Creighton Bluejays guard Ryan Nembhard (2) taps the ball away from Brigham Young Cougars forward Caleb Lohner (33) in the second half at Sanford Pentagon. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

BYU Basketball simply isn’t built to play three games in a week.

One of the clear observations about this year’s BYU Basketball team is that they lack depth at the forward position. The Cougars are good enough to win a single game, however they do not have the depth to play well without much rest.

We’ve seen this in their worst games of the season:

  • Creighton – BYU has played on Wed, travelled, played on Saturday
  • Missouri State – BYU played on Wed, travelled, played on Saturday
  • Liberty – BYU played on Wed/Thurs, one night off, played on Saturday
  • Vanderbilt – BYU played on a Wed, played the following night

Although the Cougars came away with wins against Missouri State and Liberty, the margin of victory was much, much closer than it should have been. The pattern of this has been the same all year. The Cougars simply don’t have enough depth to play on a short turnaround at the forward position and it shows.

If you read the title of this article, you are probably wondering now, what does that have to with Covid? If you’ve noticed, the entire Saturday slate of games was already cancelled for WCC hoops.

While there is one empty weekend potentially to make up a game, if this trend continues, we could see a scenario where BYU Basketball is forced to play a schedule that would be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday format. Yes, that is six games over a 14 day period that would likely require the Cougars to travel at least three times out of the state of Utah.

To this point, BYU has not shown that they can play well in this kind of situation. I hope that the Cougars can show us all wrong, but we could very realistically see a scenario where the Cougars drop a game to a middle of the pack Santa Clara or Portland. It is also tough to see a scenario where the Cougars are able to beat Gonzaga with so little rest, especially with Gonzaga’s forwards.

I don’t ever like to be pessimistic, especially before something unfortunate happens, but it may be in everyone’s best interest to accept the possibility of BYU not finishing out the season how we hope and needing some serious help to make the Big Dance.