Following the BYU Cougars’ 91-78 win over No. 2 Gonzaga on Saturday night, they became the talk of the country as people not only looked forward to the jump from No. 23 they’ll surely make in the AP Top 25 poll on Monday, but also to the NCAA Tournament.
Certainly the most attention-grabbing observation about the Cougars on Sunday morning came from The Athletic’s Seth Davis, who called BYU “A legit Final Four candidate.”
I've been high on the Cougars all season. That was their best defensive game of the season. A legit Final Four candidate. https://t.co/vDZug56InH— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 23, 2020
Pope was a Rhodes Scholar candidate at Kentucky and went to Columbia medical school before deciding to pursue a career in coaching. Great story and right at home at BYU. https://t.co/AnNS3aLd43— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 23, 2020
Meanwhile ESPN’s John Gasaway was impressed with the Cougars’ victory, calling it “a methodical performance by a highly accurate Cougars offense, and it should push (head coach Mark) Pope’s team higher in the bracket than its previously projected No. 7 seed,” although he still had BYU listed as a team that “Should be in” the NCAA Tournament as opposed to a lock.
In what would be a meeting between two faith-based institutions, bracketologist Andrew Dieckhoff tweeted Sunday that BYU vs. Liberty could be a potential 5-12 matchup.
oh hello, happy sunday— Andrew Dieckhoff (@andrewdieckhoff) February 23, 2020
BYU vs. Liberty is a very possible 5/12 matchup
Yoeli Childs v. Scottie James would be fun
As far as this week is concerned, the Cougars are CBS reporter Gary Parrish’s biggest climber of the week in the country, as he has them up to No. 17 from No. 22 in his personal rankings.
“The Cougars are 15-2 with (Yoeli) Childs in the lineup,” Parrish observed.
Parrish’s former colleague, Jeff Goodman, has BYU slotted all the way up at No. 15 in his personal rankings (that said, he had them at No. 19 last week, four spots higher than the AP poll. He had Gonzaga at No. 2 last week and No. 3 this week after the AP’s No. 1 and No. 4 — Baylor and San Diego State — also lost Saturday).