by Mike Miller
It has been a busy few weeks for BYU athletics. National rankings, WCC championships, postseason play, top-ranked recruits, and the start of the basketball season means there is a lot of excitement in Provo. Let’s dive right in:
College basketball is officially back as the Cougars started their season off with a nice 69-59 win over Cleveland State on Tuesday night. BYU was led by senior point guard Alex Barcello, who scored 24 points. The Cougars also got a strong contribution from their bench, including junior guard Spencer Johnson who added 13 points.
The week was just as big off the court as coach Mark Pope landed his highest recruit in ESPN Top-30 Collin Chandler. The Class of 2022 guard from Farmington is the top-ranked player in Utah.
Next Up: The formidable San Diego State Aztecs come to Provo on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. MST. Next week, BYU travels to Portland for the Phil Knight Invitational. Their first game is against #13 Oregon on Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. MST and will be televised on ESPN. Other opponents in the tournament will be determined throughout the week based on their performance.
The ladies took care of business as well to start their season, handing visiting Lipscomb an 81-58 loss. Tegan Graham led the Cougars with 18 points and Lauren Gustin contributed a double-double with both 13 points and rebounds.
Next Up: BYU has a lot of home games to start the season. Fresno State is the opponent this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. That game is followed by Arizona State next Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. and Boise State the following Saturday at 2:00 p.m. All times are MST.
Men’s Cross Country
A WCC championship on October 29, 2021 means that BYU is hosting the Mountain Regional championship this Friday at noon mountain time. The meet will be based at Timpanogos Golf Club. The Cougars will be looking to qualify for the national championship later this month. BYU also has defending individual national champion Conner Mantz, who is hoping to go back-to-back.
Women’s Cross Country
Speaking of national champions, the BYU women’s team won it all last year and are poised to do it again. The Cougars also wrapped up another WCC championship and will host the regional meet on the same day and location as the men, with the women’s race starting at 11:00 am. The well-rounded women’s team featured six of the top ten runners at the WCC championship, with all six finishing within 45 seconds of each other.
The College Football Playoff committee has rewarded BYU’s difficult schedule as they are currently #14 in the national CFP rankings. The Cougars will hope to continue to sneak up the rankings as other teams ahead of them lose. An explosive 66-49 win over Bronco Mendenhall and Virginia certainly helped the resume, and they took care of business with a comfortable 59-14 win over Idaho State on Senior Night.
Next Up: It’s bye week for BYU, who will look to get everyone healthy ahead of their final two games of the season.
The Cougars secured another WCC title with a dramatic double-overtime victory over #16 Pepperdine in Provo last Saturday. Senior Cameron Tucker scored the golden goal winner, giving the #12 Cougars something to celebrate on Senior Night.
Next Up: BYU enters the NCAA tournament as a four seed and hosts New Mexico at South Field Saturday night at 5:00 p.m. MST. Subsequent rounds of the tournament will be played next week.
#5 BYU has continued to be a dominant force this season, going 23-1 and in firm control of the path to another WCC championship. The Cougars have swept their five opponents and 14 of their last 16. The latest victims were Gonzaga and Portland, who could not get anything going despite a home court advantage.
Next Up: BYU has their last home games of the season as Pepperdine visits on Thursday at 7:00 pm, followed by LMU on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Both games are listed in mountain time.
Featured image courtesy BYU Photo