BYU Basketball plays Gonzaga and San Francisco on the road this week.
To this point in the season there have been a ton of questions about how good this BYU Basketball can really be, especially since Gavin Baxter went down early in the season. While the Cougars have quite a few good wins against teams like Saint Mary’s, San Diego State and Utah State, they haven’t beaten a really good team yet, or in basketball terms, a Quad One team. This week, it appears that BYU will have two opportunities.
Granted, Gonzaga is more than just a Quad One team, especially while playing at home, but San Francisco (also at home) is a good measuring stick to see where this BYU team is and whether we can expect the Cougars to win a game or two in the NCAA Tournament in March. Again, expecting BYU to beat Gonzaga on the road is so crazy even I’m considering shaving my head alongside Jarom Jordan if it happens, but it could give fans an idea of what to expect in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
A Mirror to the Big Dance
In all likelihood, the Cougars will likely fall in the No. 7-10 range as their seed in the big dance. While the first round would be against a team also in that range, the second round would pit them up against a team that is equal to, or close to, the same talent as Gonzaga.
Given BYU’s record in the NCAA Tournament, it is absolutely not a given that BYU will even be playing in the second round, but in the case that they do, Gonzaga will give them a good look at what to expect.
If BYU can keep it respectful against Gonzaga or even, gulp, beat the Zags then it will show that the Cougs can maybe on the right night pull off an upset in the second round and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
San Francisco as mentioned, feels like a great magic ball to see what we can expect in March. While the Dons may not be as good as a 7-10 seed, given that they are at home gives them the advantage to make it a game as tough as one in the seed lines mentioned. If BYU is able to get past the Dons then it is reasonable to believe that Barcello and the Cougs very well may have a good chance of winning a first round game in the Tourney.
On the flip side, if neither of those things happen, then the reality may be that the injuries and lack of depth on this team will prove to be a very short postseason. Either way, this week may tell us a lot and give fans an expectation for the next few months.