3 BYU players who need to shine in the NCAA Tournament

If BYU wants to make a deep tournament run, these players will need to prosper.

Fousseyni Traore hauls in a rebound against Kansas
Fousseyni Traore hauls in a rebound against Kansas / Jamie Squire/GettyImages
1 of 4

Here come the Cougars.

As we reach the final stretch of the college basketball schedule, the eyes of the nation are beginning to look to the most exciting postseason in sports--the NCAA Tournament. No matter who your team is, as soon as your name is locked into the tournament field, a deep tournament run is possible. BYU is in an unexpected position, as they are now a lock to play in March Madness, despite being picked to be among the worst teams in their conference.

But does BYU have a chance to make its mark on the college hoops landscape? Let me take off my blue-tinted glasses and think analytically for a second. BYU is among the best offenses in the country and has proved that they can win big games, as they did against Iowa State, Baylor, and now Kansas. On the other hand, BYU has stumbled against lesser opponents, specifically without their excellent home-court advantage in the Marriott Center. If BYU wants to win in March, they must find the formula for their sustained success.

Historically, teams who make deep tournament runs don't win games because of luck. These teams are well-coached and when their stars ascend, the team follows their trajectory.

If BYU is going to have an impact in the Tournament, they have to avoid basketball light pollution. In nature, light pollution is the phenomenon of how city lights impact the number of stars that are visible from the ground. If you've ever gone camping in a remote location, you've been in awe when you lift your eyes to the heavens and see astrological beauty that is otherwise invisible closer to civilization's diluting light pollution. Without the luminescent obstructions of city lights, you can see the Milky Way galaxy with the naked eye. You'll see shooting stars and many astrological events unlike anything you've ever witnessed.

In similar fashion to the large celestial spheres, athletic stars' luster can be diminished on the biggest stage when the lights are brightest. Whether it's the tougher competition or crippling pressure to achieve, it's not uncommon to see the greatest players of the tournament struggle when it matters most. Former number 1 pick DeAndre Ayton's Arizona team was upset by Buffalo in the first round. Last year's number 2 pick, Brandon Miller, played some of his worst basketball of the season for his top-seeded Alabama team in last season's madness. If BYU wants to succeed in this year's iteration of the "Big Dance", their stars will need to shine brighter than the lights of college hoops' biggest stage.

So, who needs to step up for BYU's tournament run? Which players will be instrumental to BYU's success when it matters most?