BYU Basketball has had to be very strategic in their scheduling while in the WCC.
The Quad system is a very good way of determining whether a college basketball team is good enough to get an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament. It is much more difficult to get home games as a Quad one game than it is to find a road game that also qualifies. For that reason BYU Basketball has at times scheduled teams like Missouri State on the road or agreed to play at Utah State more than fans may have hoped.
But how will that change in the Big 12?
Up to this point, BYU has been in a very unique spot where they are in a conference that is good enough to where they can play a nice mixture of games of Quad 1/2 and 3/4 non conference games because the WCC was good enough to guarantee at least four to five Quad 1 games every season.
With the Big 12, just about every conference game will be a Quad One game and all the others will Quad Two (with an exception perhaps to the new Big 12 teams). What this means is that BYU no longer has to go out and schedule as tough of a non conference.
If we look at current Big 12 teams, most of their non conference schedule is very weak with an exception to a tournament and a game against an SEC opponent. As an example, let’s look at Oklahoma State’s nonconference from 2021.
- Central Oklahoma
- UT Arlington
- Prairie View A&M
- UMass-Lowell (Tournament)
- NC State (Tournament)
- at Oral Roberts
- Wichita State
- Xavier (Big 12/Big East Battle)
- Cleveland State
- Houston (Tournament)
- USC (Tournament)
Compare that to BYU’s schedule last year
- Cleveland State
- San Diego State
- Central Methodist
- Texas Southern
- at Utah
- at Utah Valley
- at Missouri State
- Utah State
- at Weber State
- South Florida (Tournament
- Vanderbilt (Tournament)
- Liberty (Tournament)
There are two differences here. The first being the amount of true road games. Oklahoma State only played at Oral Roberts while the Cougars played four (but really six with Oregon and Creighton being within 50 miles of home) road games. The other big difference is the amount of big games. Oklahoma State played four opponents that were against decent competition. BYU on the other hand had seven such games, and in many years that number is higher.
The Big 12 schedules like this for two main reasons. First, it is to boost up records. By the time that Big 12 play starts, most teams are 12-3 or better. This makes every game look like a great game. This boosts NET rankings and in return Quad rankings.
The second reason that they schedule like this is because they can. This sort of goes back to the last point, but there is no reason to schedule big games other than to get ratings and sell tickets. The ultimate goal is to go to the NCAA Tournament, and with such a strong conference, the schedules work out best like this.
What to expect with BYU
I believe that BYU will continue to play the in-state games, and perhaps continue to play on the road, but perhaps in a 2-1 format as opposed to a home and home. Outside of that however, the Cougars may take on more of the Big 12’s format and play a bunch of Quad 3/4 games to boost their win/loss record before going into the Big 12.
Getting a big win early no longer matters, or at least nearly as much as it used to.