With a final record of 24-8, the Brigham Young University men’s basketball team ended the 2019-20 season ranked 18th in the AP Poll and 16th in the Coaches Poll. This season, however, the Cougars did not make an appearance in either of these preseason polls. They did receive four votes in the AP Poll that essentially ranks them 39th in the country.
BYU guard Connor Harding said, “We’re hungry, we’re ready. We’re pretty raw as a team. We have a bunch of talent and now it’s just learning how we can have chemistry as a team.”
The team is projected to finish 2nd in the West Coast Conference according to a preseason poll of WCC coaches. The Cougars had 69 points in the poll and received one first-place vote.
Alex Barcello, one of BYU’s only returning starters, was also named to the All-WCC preseason team. Head coach Mark Pope said of Barcello, “He’s been so eager to take on the weight and the pressure of being a leader of this team…and he’s got the ball in his hands a lot more.”
BYU’s fall from the national rankings may be explained by the loss of their three leading scorers: Yoeli Childs, Jake Toolson and TJ Haws. But the Cougars are in a good position to rebuild with additions to the roster such as Purdue transfer Matt Haarms, UVU transfer Brandon Averette and JUCO transfer Gideon George.
“I think there’s a high ceiling for this team and I don’t think that we should limit our goals in anything…We’re set out to win every game that we can and then go win a WCC championship and a national championship. I think the sky’s the limit for this group,” said Barcello.
The Cougars will play their first game of the 2020-21 season on November 25th against Westminster.