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BYU basketball continues to garner national respect, climb in rankings

The Cougars are ranked No. 23 in the NCAA’s NET, No. 16 in Kenpom.com and No. 24 (up from No. 31) by Andy Katz. And when the Associated Press poll was released Monday morning, BYU collected 43 votes (up from 14 last week) to finish outside the Top 25 at No. 29.

Brigham Young Cougars guard Zac Seljaas (2) competes for the ball in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020.
BYU Cougars guard Zac Seljaas (2) competes for the ball during a game against San Francisco at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — After picking up a pair of double-digit wins last week, BYU continues to garner national respect.

The Cougars (19-7, 8-3), riding a four-game winning streak, are ranked No. 23 in the NCAA’s NET, No. 16 by Kenpom.com and No. 24 (up from No. 31) by Andy Katz.

When the Associated Press poll was released Monday morning, BYU collected 43 votes (up from 14 last week) to finish outside the top 25 at No. 29.

Three of the Cougars’ seven losses have come at the hands of No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 San Diego State. BYU defeated No. 20 Houston. The Cougars own a No. 11 nonconference strength of schedule ranking.

According to the Bracket Matrix, BYU is projected to get into the NCAA Tournament in all 92 projected brackets with an average seed of 8.1. In ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi’s most recent projection, last Friday, the Cougars are a No. 7 seed.

Following last Saturday’s 90-76 victory over San Francisco, coach Mark Pope assessed how his team is playing right now.

“We are dangerous. But we can’t be satisfied. Every team is going to make a decision in February. And probably keep making that decision every day in February — whether they’re done … or whether they’re going to come every single minute of every single day and fight and this team can actually do it,” he said. “We talk about having the best locker room in America all the time. That’s what the best locker room in America does.

“The best locker room in America comes and competes every single minute of every single day. … If you do this right, at the end of the season, you are essentially dead inside,” he continued. “You have nothing left. You’ve called forth every deep reserve that you possibly have in your being to compete every single day at the highest level. And you’ll have nothing left. Then every day for the rest of your life, that will get sweeter and sweeter and sweeter, if you can invest that much. This team is on their way to doing it.”

BYU, which sits alone in second place in the West Coast Conference standings, visits Loyola Marymount on Thursday and San Diego Saturday.

Cougars on the air

BYU (19-7, 8-3)

at Loyola Marymount (8-16, 2-8)

Thursday, 9 p.m. MST

Gersten Pavilion, Los Angeles

TV: ESPNU

Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM