Dick Harmon: No. 3 seed is right where BYU should be

Published: Saturday, Oct. 10 2015 10:38 a.m. MDT

BYU got respected, so did the Mountain West, but Utah State got slapped down.

That's the short of it Sunday when the NCAA Selection Committee released it's tournament brackets and seeds.

First the 30-3 Aggies.

I know the argument, that the Aggies don't play anybody, although Georgetown is somebody. And I know, the WAC was down this year. But the No. 17-ranked basketball team in the country deserved more than a No. 12 seed. The Aggies are that good and so is Stew Morrill.

Take a straw poll and pick a sampling of Pac-10 and SEC teams this year and bring them to Logan. I like the Aggies' chances over any of them in the Spectrum. The should have got a No. 9.

I agree with ESPN's Pat Forde, who says USU is set up to lose every year and then the committee, which is dominated by BCS power conference representatives who say, "see, we told you they aren't that good."

The Aggies play No. 5 seed Kansas State.

Utah State's seed reflects more of a 43rd to 46th ranked team. The Aggies are better than that. Disrespected. This is why I believe the MWC should invite USU — to bolster the league's basketball circuit with the departure of the Cougars and, historically, the Utes.

Conversely, BYU's No. 3 seed is exactly where I thought they should be after sniffing a No. 2 before losing to San Diego State in the league finals. Some say a 3-2 finish with the Brandon Davies situation should have put BYU at a No. 4 or 5. But that discounts the body of work and the Jimmer Fredette factor, which the TV folks love.

I believe if BYU had defeated SDSU Saturday night for the third time, two "either/or" things may have happened. First, the committee would have discounted SDSU for three losses to the same team. Or, the committee would have given BYU that No. 2 seed.

The No. 3 seed is the highest BYU has ever enjoyed (tied with 1980) and it reflects the respect of 30-4 campaign, co-championship and Dave Rose's work to play a tough schedule and do it out of suitcases. As we know, the Cougars were 2-1 against No. 2 seed San Diego State.

The Mountain West got three teams in the tournament in SDSU, BYU and UNLV and Rose believes, with a few breaks, New Mexico could have made the field.

"It's a tough league with very good coaching," Rose told reporters.

That same respect didn't go to the BYU's future home, the West Coast Conference, which got Gonzaga in, but bubble team St. Mary's found itself left out. One bid. Can BYU change that next year? We shall see.

Jackson Emery knows what USU and the Cougars can expect from NCAA tournament play.

"It's going to be tough," Emery said. "You throw out records, you throw out seedings and you just play head to head and each team has been successful, no matter who you play."

And as for the Cougars, fresh off a loss, they are a team in need of a bounce-back performance.

"You have to maintain your emotions and play BYU basketball."

Emery says the committee respected the Cougars and looked at the entire season, not just the last five games.

"They had to take into effect we had Jimmer, one of the best players in the country, and the supporting cast he has as well as a great coaching staff.

I'm grateful they rewarded us, it is well-deserved on everyone's part."

"We've worked very hard since last season since we lost to Kansas State. Every guy on this team worked extremely hard to get to this point. We've had a lot of challenges along the way."

The Cougars get Wofford, a conference champion. The Aggies get the last team to beat BYU in the NCAAs, Kansas State, a No. 5 seed.

If the Cougars get past Wofford, they'll likely face St. John's.

Can the Aggies stick a finger in the eye of the committee? It will be tough, but yes, it is doable. UNLV did it. Colorado did it three times.

It will be a fun week.

Let the dance begin.

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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