BYU pulls a 6-seed in the NCAA Tournament. What's their path through their region?

The NCAA Tournament field is set! Who did BYU draw?

BYU will face Duquesne in the round of 64
BYU will face Duquesne in the round of 64 / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

Brethren, welcome to March. Very few Cougar fans believed that BYU would find their way into the Big Dance, yet here we are. The Cougars were projected to be a 5 seed by most tournament experts but ended up drawing a 6 seed--likely due to accommodations for BYU's no Sunday play policy. After reviewing the bracket, though, BYU got a much more favorable draw than any 5-seed would have given them. Gonzaga will have to face a McNeese State team that is getting plenty of buzz for an upset bid, Saint Mary's drew Grand Canyon, who is a really dangerous team, Wisconsin is meeting a very good James Madison squad, and San Diego State likely got the easiest matchup of the bunch against UAB.

BYU drew a 6-seed, and their dancing partner is an 11th-seeded Duquesne team. Duquesne got into the tournament by stealing an auto-bid in their conference tournament. The Atlantic 10 conference tournament was insane, as the top 4 seeds all missed out on the semifinals, and 6th-seeded Duquesne took home the crown following a championship victory over 5-seed VCU. Duquesne went 24-11 this season in a paradoxical conference. Was the A-10 good? Were they secretly terrible? The only other team from their conference to receive a bid was 7th-seeded Dayton, who has been in a tailspin for the final weeks of the regular season.

But where does that leave BYU? Past a favorable matchup against the A-10 champion, what does the Cougars' path through their region look like?

At a glance, BYU's region doesn't look exceptionally difficult many teams that might be overseeded or were bid-stealers due to winning their conference tournaments in an odd year for auto-bids. Duquesne and Yale stand out as teams that wouldn't be in the tournament were it not for their conference favorites dropping the ball. On the other side of that point, BYU is also unfortunate to see so many conference champions in their bracket, including UConn and Iowa State.

When Isaac Newton was knocked out by an inanimate fruit, he was inspired to decide how the forces of gravity were allowed to affect the world. Among his laws of gravity was the concept of inertia--the idea that an object in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. This is why George Clooney detaching himself from Sandra Bullock was so brave in the movie Gravity, and why I still cry every time I think about that scene. In college hoops, inertia is a big deal. A team who enters the tournament on a winning streak is often the team that keeps winning in March, and conference tournament champions are all riding the best momentum of their season.

UConn finished as top dog in the Big East, and Iowa State clobbered 1-seed Houston in their final matchup. Illinois and Auburn also took home their conference crowns, and all of these teams are present in BYU's region, and that makes me sweat a little bit. Assuming BYU avoids an upset at the hands of the A-10 champ, they would likely face off against a tough Illinois team, with Iowa State meeting the Cougars for a third matchup in the Sweet 16.

March Madness is the most wonderful time of the year for college hoops fans like myself. With every matchup, I say to myself oh my gosh, BYU can win this game. And I set myself up for disappointment (or the chance that I'm right and BYU is Final Four bound!) For those BYU fans who haven't given up hope on this team, I salute you. Keep the faith. Happy March, and enjoy the madness!

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