Blue roundup: Gonzaga games critical for Cougars

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 31 2012 10:42 a.m. MST

After falling at home to Saint Mary's last Saturday, have BYU's NCAA Tournament hopes been dashed?

Not necessarily.

Of course, the Cougars can guarantee themselves a spot in the Big Dance by winning the West Coast Conference championship. But they still have two games against perennial WCC power Gonzaga. Can BYU still get in as an at-large?

"A split of two games against Gonzaga (and no more bad losses) would make the Cougars feel more secure," writes Yahoo! Sports' Pat Forde.

Jerry Palm has BYU as a No. 13 seed playing a first-round game against No. 13 seed Iowa State in Dayton, Ohio, with the winner playing either San Diego State or Indiana, in his CBSSports.com mock bracket.

"Bracket projections are always based on 'as if the tournament started today,'" Palm writes. "I am not predicting how teams will finish the season."

ESPN.com's Bracketology expert, Joe Lunardi, projects the Cougars as part of the "first four out" of the NCAA Tournament, along with Stanford, North Carolina State and Marshall.

At ESPN.com, Saint Mary's is projected as a No. 5 seed, while Gonzaga is projected as a No. 6 seed.

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