BYU basketball: Can the Cougars grab a No. 1 seed?

Published: Friday, Oct. 9 2015 2:44 p.m. MDT

For now, the question of the top team in the Mountain West Conference has been settled. But how good is that team?

That's the discussion in the college basketball world after the No. 7 BYU Cougars defeated the No. 6 San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday afternoon.

That win, combined with losses by Duke and Texas, opens the way for the Cougars to leap up the rankings.

No team from the Mountain West has ever received one of the four No. 1 seeds in each NCAA Tournament. Can BYU be the first? SI.com writer Andy Glockner thinks so.

"The Cougars should be strongly favored to win their next four games (home against New Mexico and Wyoming, then the 8-9 winner and maybe Colorado State in the Mountain West tournament," Glockner wrote Saturday. "If they win out, I think they'll get there."

CBSSports.com writer Jeff Borzello agreed: "The Cougars were in the hunt for a No. 1 seed heading into the game, but now they are right in the thick of things. They are 4-0 vs. the top-25, 8-1 vs. the top-50 and are an impressive 14-2 away from home. Throw in a top-five RPI, and their profile compares favorably with the other candidates."

ESPN.com's Eamonn Brennan asked his Twitter followers for their thoughts, with mixed results. "Saturday afternoon, in an attempt to see what people thought about the [BYU] seeding question, I conducted an informal poll on Twitter," Brennan wrote. "The results? Undecided. Some said "absolutely." Others were baffled I even asked in the first place. ("Uh, no" was a common response.)"

As important as BYU's win over San Diego State was the way they won, with contributions from the whole team, not just superstar Jimmer Fredette. That performance is what won over Rivals.com writer Steve Megargee.

"Fredette was one of four players in double figures," Megargee wrote. "That kind of teamwork could help BYU land a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament."

For some, the case is a no-brainer. CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish called BYU's resume for a No. 1 seed "debate-proof."

"BYU's body of work is right there, clearly," Parrish wrote. "Anybody suggesting otherwise is either dumb, stupid or idiotic. Or all three. Or just a Jimmer-hater."

The CBS broadcast crew who worked the game didn't have any problems touting the Cougars as a worthy 1-seed.

"I think BYU is gonna have a great shot at a 1-seed when all is said and done," analyst Steve Kerr said, "if they go ahead and win the Mountain West Conference tournament and run the table."

SI.com's Luke Winn was at Viejas Arena in San Diego on Saturday, and he finished his thoughts on the game with a vote of confidence in Fredette.

"[Fredette's] first three trips to the dance have ended in the opening weekend," Winn wrote, "but the question now is: If BYU could sail through an environment like this, and if its star can keep adapting to every defensive wrinkle, is there really anything it won't be able to handle in March?"

If the Cougars can manage to keep winning and earn that coveted top slot, that question might be a lot easier to answer.

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