BYU jumps to 5 in Lunardi's Bracketology

Following a big win against Kansas, the Cougars have been lifted to a 5 seed in ESPN's bracket projections
Richie Saunders celebrates a win in Lawrence
Richie Saunders celebrates a win in Lawrence / Jamie Squire/GettyImages

In the realm of bracketology, Joe Lunardi is king. This morning, March 1st, Lunardi updated his bracket projections again, and things are looking up for the giant-slaying Cougs. After sitting in the 7 slot last week, fans were starting to feel the pressure to win games in their remaining slate of Big 12 regular season play.

Fortunately for everyone who has gone on life support since the beginning of in-conference play, BYU eased the concerns of the selection committee by winning against a high-profile opponent at a high-profile venue, as they took down the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday 76-68.

After my friends and I were done flipping cars and lighting trash cans on fire in celebration of the upset win, we sat down for a civil conversation about what this win could mean for BYU's postseason. Bracketologists must have had a similar conversation, and they seem to like the Cougars' outlook for the remaining season.

Here's where the latest projections from ESPN have BYU.

West Region: Salt Lake City, UT
5 BYU vs 12 Grand Canyon

. . . 5 BYU vs 12 Grand Canyon. 20-8. 540. . 25-4. 2519

What a great draw this would be for BYU. Playing in Salt Lake would make this game feel like a home game for a BYU crowd that is already known to travel well. Grand Canyon will likely win the WAC tournament this postseason and has been dominant over their conference foes, winning many games by over 20 points. They are far from unstoppable, though, as they suffered a loss to Seattle U and recently lost two straight to Tarleton State and Abilene Christian. Keep in mind that a matchup with Grand Canyon is unlikely, but this is the caliber of team the Cougars would face in a hypothetical 5 vs. 12 matchup.

Spencer Johnson, Tylor Perry
Spencer Johnson drives against Kansas State / Peter G. Aiken/GettyImages

For now, we need to focus on the remaining schedule. Wins against TCU and Oklahoma State would be great for BYU's case, but a win against Iowa State would be huge. BYU still needs to tweak some aspects of their game if they hope to make a deep tournament run this March. The defense will need to be more dependable on the road. Winning in Kansas is an incredible sign that the Cougars' defense has the foundation of a stopper, but BYU is still 12th in the Big 12 on the defensive end of the floor. Improvement in the short term could pay dividends when it matters most.

Of course, it doesn't matter where BYU is now on bracket projections--those are never completely accurate and are subject to change until Selection Sunday. No wins come easy in the Big 12, so just keep winning, Cougs.

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