The only way BYU could have guaranteed itself a spot in the NCAA Tournament would have been by winning the West Coast Conference Tournament, but a buzzer-beating shot by top-seeded Gonzaga dashed those dreams.
Instead, the Cougars will have to wait until Monday’s Selection Show to learn their fate.
BYU went into the WCC Tournament on the bubble for the NCAA Tourney. The dominating semifinal win over San Francisco helped keep BYU in the conversation, but it is unknown if it was enough.
Most bracketologists, including ESPN, still consider the Cougars on the bubble, but there are others, like College Sports Madness, that have BYU listed as a possible No. 11 seed vs No. 6 Georgia Tech in the First Round.
Whether or not BYU has its name called out on Monday, the Cougars will continue to prepare for the postseason, hoping to get into the NIT if not into March Madness.
“We’re going to come into practice and have that mindset that we are going to go into the tournament,” BYU star Shaylee Gonzales said. “I think it’s super important to have that mentality, and whatever tournament we go into, we need to take care of business. We need to know that we’re the better team and use this as our fire. … My team can really make it far in whatever tournament we get into because we don’t want to fail. We don’t want to have this feeling again.”
— BYU Women’s Hoops (@byuwbb) March 9, 2021
BYU coach Jeff Judkins has been vocal over the last couple of weeks about his opinion on where the Cougars stand for the NCAA Tournament. The longtime coach has made statements about how other teams are scared to play BYU and wouldn’t schedule a game with them when the Cougars dealt with multiple postponements and cancelations throughout the season.
Following Tuesday’s WCC Championship game, Judkins was asked if he’d like to make a case for the Cougars or if he believed their body of work spoke for itself. He believed the latter.
“I watch other teams that I know are going to go and we’re as good as anybody,” Judkins said. “Hopefully, through what we’ve done in the past and what we’ve done this year, people will look at it and say ‘BYU’s a top 64 team in the country.’”
So now, the Cougars are looking for a way to move on from their recent heart-breaking loss while preparing for the uncertain future.
The biggest point of focus throughout the pause in action will be working on defense. Gonzales said the team needs to learn to not get complacent when they have a significant lead and learn to keep fighting.
“We can’t let down because we know that teams are going to want it and they’re going to fight back,” Gonzales said.