Despite the fact that basically every team in the state of Utah except for Utah State and Southern Utah has a fighting chance to make the NCAA Tournament, there are a few who are locks.
Based on a strong conference schedule and tough preseason opposition, BYU was named one of the “last five in” by USA Today this week -- still two weeks before the Cougars even enter their conference tournament in Las Vegas.
Calling the Cougars a lock this early seems like suicide but BYU’s tough games are all but over -- and the Cougars do have 20 wins.
On the flip side BYU still has to play in the West Coast Conference tournament in Orleans Arena in Las Vegas in March -- and one more regular season game -- before it even hears its name called for a postseason tournament.
"We have one more game in the regular season, so to play well at the end of the games is huge,” said BYU guard Matt Carlino, named WCC Player of the Week on Monday, February 24, averaging 23 points per game.
Just a few miles down University Avenue in Orem is Utah Valley University, where the Wolverines are quietly amassing a 16-10 season overall.
The UVU record may seem average when you don’t consider that the Wolverines won 13 of those 16 games in Western Athletic Conference play. (Their postseason tournament is also in Las Vegas.)
The reason Weber’s record is important is because unlike the other postseason tournaments, the Big Sky Conference regular season champion earns the right to host its postseason tournament -- which now appears to be destined for Ogden.
In two short weeks everyone will have a better idea of which tournaments they’re headed to. But don’t be surprised if these three Utah schools make it all the way to the Big Dance.