by Mike Miller
This is March! The best time of the year for college basketball fans is here. While the month did not start the way BYU wanted it to, there is still much to look forward to for basketball and other BYU sports.
After taking care of LMU in the second round of the WCC Tournament, the Cougars were shut down in the quarterfinals by San Francisco. The 75-63 scoreline is accurate of how the Dons kept BYU at arm’s length throughout the game. The Cougars struggled offensively, making just three shots from downtown. Coach Mark Pope’s team will now have to wait and hope they end up on the right side of the bubble come Selection Sunday. ESPN’s Joe Lunardi currently has them as the third team out as of late Tuesday night.
Unlike their counterparts, the women are firmly in the tournament, having brought a 25-2 record to Las Vegas. All that was left for them was to improve seeding, which could also bring the opportunity to host the first two rounds of March Madness. Unfortunately, they came up short against Gonzaga in the WCC Championship. A poor shooting night was the Cougars undoing. They now await their destination and opponent, which is likely away from Provo. The good news is that BYU did reach a school-record in the rankings this week, coming in at No. 15.
The season has started off well with a 7-3 record. A sweep at Arizona State is the Cougars’ best series so far, which featured 29 runs scored across three games, including 19 in the third. They also opened their home schedule with two wins and a loss over Milwaukee Wisconsin.
Next Up: BYU was originally scheduled to host Oklahoma State for three games this week, but projected winter storms in Provo have prompted other plans. The Thursday-Saturday series will now be played in Arlington, Texas at the home of the Texas Rangers. While the team may be disappointed to not have their home fans behind them, playing in an MLB stadium will hopefully make up for it.
The Cougars are rolling right now, winning two tri-meets in consecutive meets. First, they went to Logan and downed Utah State and Towson, before taking care of Illinois State and Washington in Provo. Senior Sadie Miner-Van Tassell continues to lead the way, registering total scores of 39.425 and 39.525.
Next Up: The final home meet of the year is this Saturday at noon MST. BYU hosts the University of Arizona at the Smith Fieldhouse.
The softball team is also off to a hot start in the new season with an impressive 13-4 record. Last week they enjoyed the sunny shores of San Diego, winning four games over San Diego State, Yale, University of California San Diego, and Cal. Across the games, the Cougars scored 19 runs, giving up just two.
Next Up: BYU is hoping their hot streak continues at the Sun Devil Classic in Phoenix. They have five games across three days from Thursday-Saturday. They will face No. 23 Arizona State, Rutgers, Grand Canyon, Ball State, and UMKC.
The woes are continuing for men’s volleyball. They have now lost nine straight games, one of the worst skids in school history. Two weeks ago they almost broke the streak against Grand Canyon, but dopped a five-set match that went to a tiebreaker in three sets. Last week they were manhandled by USC (3-1 and 3-0).
Next Up: Concordia University, Irvine comes to Provo this weekend on Friday and Saturday. Both matches start at 7:00 p.m. MST on BYUtv.
Featured image courtesy Kristin Murphy, Deseret News