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BYU Could Be Dangerous No. 11 Seed In NCAA Tournament
Brigham Young barely snuck into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 11 seed and will face fellow No. 11 Mississippi in a First Four game in Dayton on Tuesday night, but don't be shocked if the Cougars not only win that game but perhaps one or two more in the Big Dance. They are 4-point favorites over the Rebels at Bovada. It's the first-ever meeting between the schools. The winner faces No. 6 Xavier in Jacksonville on Thursday.
Second First Four Game for BYU
This is the 10th-straight season BYU has played in the postseason and eighth time the Cougars have reached the NCAA Tournament and second consecutive under head coach Dave Rose. Last season, BYU lost to Oregon in the second round 87-68. This is BYU’s second trip to Dayton. In 2011-12, the Cougars defeated Iona 78-72 as a No. 14 seed. BYU trailed by 25 before coming back, the biggest comeback in NCAA tournament history.
The Cougars have a 15-31 record in the NCAA Tournament dating back to their first appearance in the tournament in 1950. Rose and the Cougars have gone 7-5 in the postseason over the past five postseasons. This year, BYU tied its best finish in the West Coast Conference going 25-9 overall and 13-5 in conference. The Cougars finished second behind Gonzaga and also lost to the Bulldogs in the WCC Championship.
BYU is the second-highest scoring team in the country at 83.8 points per game. Senior guard Tyler Haws is third in the nation in scoring at 21.9 points per game. Haws set the BYU career scoring record this season passing 2011 National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette and is currently 23rd in NCAA history with 2,687 career points. Junior guard Kyle Collinsworth set the NCAA season record and tied the career record with six triple-doubles this season. BYU has just one RPI top-50 win (Gonzaga) and lost twice to Pepperdine this season
The Cougars enter the tournament with some health issues, although guard Skyler Halford, who suffered a nerve contusion in his leg in the loss to Gonzaga, said he has been practicing and is “good to go” for the tournament. As for guard Anson Winder, who sustained a knee injury against Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament, his status is in question.
Rebels Last Team In
Ole Miss was the last team revealed in the NCAA Tournament's field of 68 teams. It's Ole Miss' first at-large bid since 2002. The Rebels have lost four of their last five games. Mississippi went 3-1 on neutral courts this season. Mississippi took its NCAA tournament fate out of its hands with a disappointing first-game loss to South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference tournament.
Ole Miss finished the season 20-12 overall and in a four-way tie for third in the SEC at 11-7. Stefan Moody leads the Rebels in scoring at 16.3 points per game while Jarvis Summers (12.4) and Ladarius Summer (11.2) also average double figures. Sebastian Saiz leads the way in rebounding at 5.4 boards per game. Ole Miss lost to Kentucky — which is undefeated and the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament — in overtime on the road this season.
At Bovada, BYU is 40/1 to win the West Region and Ole Miss 50/1.
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