If BYU has any hope of making the NCAA Tournament, it needs a strong showing in Las Vegas at the West Coast Conference Tournament over the next few days.

The Cougars are on the outside looking in at the NCAA field in the majority of the most recent bracket projections, ahead of BYU’s WCC Tournament opener against Loyola Marymount on Friday night.

If the Cougars are victorious against the Lions, it will set up a game against San Francisco, who’s expected to make the NCAA Tournament field.

BYU’s WCC Tournament schedule

No. 5 seed BYU vs. No. 8 Loyola Marymount, Friday, 7 p.m. MST (BYUtv): The Cougars are playing the Lions for the third time in three weeks. BYU swept the regular-season series, winning by 20 in Provo but needing some heroics in overtime to win in Los Angeles.

Next game: The winner will play No. 4 San Francisco on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN2 in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals.

BYU in the latest bracket projections

ESPN, Joe Lunardi: First four out.

CBS Sports, Jerry Palm: No. 11 seed.

The Athletic, Brian Bennett: First team out.

USA Today, Shelby Mast and Scott Gleeson: Last four in.

NCAA.com, Andy Katz: Next four out.

Notable details about BYU and other NCAA Tournament hopefuls 

  • The Cougars sit just behind Indiana, who’s projected as the first team out, in Lunardi’s latest ESPN projections. The Hoosiers most recently lost to Rutgers, another bubble team, and play at top-10 Purdue this weekend.
  • The success or struggles of three Big Ten teams — Indiana, Michigan and Rutgers — could greatly impact BYU. Those three programs are all in the NCAA Tournament discussion, and are seen on either side of the bubble in a variety of projections.
  • San Francisco is seen by all major projections as an NCAA Tournament team, and currently sits at No. 26 in the NCAA’s NET rankings. If BYU gets past Loyola Marymount, the Cougars would have the chance to pick up another Quad 1 victory against the Dons. The teams split their season series, each winning on the other team’s home floor.

Thursday results that could help BYU

Oregon lost by double-digits at Washington. The Ducks, like BYU, are seen on the outside looking in by most pundits at this points, and a loss to a team not in the running for an at-large bid is costly to Oregon.

Michigan lost to No. 24 Iowa. While the Wolverines are seen to be in a better position on the bubble than Oregon, if Michigan slides further in the next two weeks, it could find itself on the wrong side of the bubble.