All huddled together in head coach Dave Rose’s basement, the BYU basketball team was more than ecstatic to hear that they earned a 10 seed, jumping around at the thought of gaining the opportunity to face No. 7 seed Oregon this coming Thursday in Milwaukee, Wis.
It was the best news the Cougars could have received, and much better than what they were expecting.
“For a lot of reasons I think our guys will be really excited to play in this tournament against Oregon,” Rose said. “I look forward to the next couple of days and to practice.”
The Cougars played Oregon earlier in the season, losing a heartbreaking game that at one point had the Cougars up by eight points. This time around BYU is preparing in order to know what Oregon could potentially throw at it, hoping in the end to come out with a win.
“Earlier this season we had (Oregon) down the stretch and kind of gave it away, so we were pretty bummed to finish off the preseason like that before we went into conference games,” said freshman Eric Mika. “I think we are ready to play them again.”
The team was weary going into the selection process having lost key playmaker Kyle Collinsworth to an ACL injury, a season-ending injury that will leave the Cougars to make up for his strengths in other places. Sunday morning, though, committee chairman Ron Wellman told CBS Sports that injury rarely affects seeding.
“We have had a few practices (without Collinsworth), and we are all just going to have to step up,” said guard Matt Carlino. “We really need to step up rebounding wise and play to have fun.”
This will be the Cougars’ 28th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. BYU is 5-30 in NCAA Tournament play.