Is BYU a lock for March Madness?

BYU is still far outplaying preseason expectations. Is their spot saved in March?

Atiki Ally Atiki rejects a shot at the rim vs. Wyoming
Atiki Ally Atiki rejects a shot at the rim vs. Wyoming / Chris Gardner/GettyImages
facebooktwitterreddit

March Madness is the greatest postseason in the history of American sports, professional or amateur. In a do-or-die format, nearly any team could feasibly make a run at the championship. Of course, 67 out of 68 participants will be eliminated from contention at some point throughout the bracket, but every year is a new opportunity.

BYU Basketball is good again, and this season, they have proved that BYU can still be a big name in college hoops. But with one month until Selection Sunday, have they done enough to lock in a place in the tournament? Where is BYU projected to land in March Madness, and what games left on the schedule could get in the way of a postseason berth?

Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery
Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery celebrate progressing to the Sweet 16 / Doug Pensinger/GettyImages

Admit it: you've entertained the possibility of this being the year that BYU makes a run. You're a fan, it's your right to have a delusional thought followed by sincere consideration. Even if the thought only lasts a moment and is quickly brushed aside, you've seen the NET rankings and you know that if this team gets hot they might have what it takes to make a deep tournament run.

But what does the national media have to say about BYU? In the eyes of the unbiased, where do the Cougars land? Take a look at some of the media's current projections, and let's see if others think this team is a serious contender, or just another small fish in a big pond.

ESPN Bracketology by Joe Lunardi - 5th seed

ESPN's Bracketology has BYU sitting comfortably as a 5-seed in March. That's a comfortable position when considering that most fans would just be happy to be involved. One important thing to mention, however, is that 5th seeds are among the most commonly upset in the first round of the tournament. BYU would face Indiana State in this projection, and the Sycamores will likely be a popular Cinderella choice among bracket-fillers. An interesting note: a 5 seed has never been crowned national champion in the history of the tournament, if that helps you keep your expectations low.

CBS Sports - 7th seed

In this projection, BYU would be a 7-seed in a matchup against Texas A&M of the SEC. The Aggies have most notably won against top-10 Tennessee, and a Kentucky team that has hovered toward the bottom of the Top 25, but lack many more quality wins. 10-seeds beat 7-seeds nearly 40% of the time historically, and a first-round win likely means a matchup with the 2-seed in the next round.

Fox Sports - 5th seed

Again in the 5th seed, BYU would face off against a dangerous McNeese State team that is currently 20-3 and making waves across the nation. While considering BYU's chances of being on upset-watch, I think back to games where BYU's shooting has gone ice-cold, and they take themselves out of the game. BYU needs to make sure they take inside advantages when they can, cutting and pounding the ball inside to open up outside shots, rather than relying on the 3 to dig themselves out of the hole that cold shooting put them in.

Being a projected 5-seed at this point in the season is very promising, and indicates that experts have seen enough from the Cougars to conclude that they are not only tournament-caliber but should be favored in the opening round. Barring an unthinkable 6-game losing streak against their remaining schedule, there should be no doubt that the Cougars have punched their ticket to the Big Dance.

More BYU Sports: