Today, The Salt Lake Tribune reported that BYU and Gonzaga are heavily considering opting out of the WCC Tournament. Both teams are sure things for the NCAA Tournament with Gonzaga being a one seed and BYU as an eight seed.
Gonzaga and BYU are weighing whether they should opt out of the West Coast Conference basketball tournament.
Nothing in it for either program, except risk of injury, bad loss and infection. They’re both NCAA Tournament bound regardless. WCC ADs are talking about this.
— John Canzano (@johncanzanobft) February 16, 2021
John Canzano, writer for the Oregonian, sums it in his tweet.
I personally couldn’t agree more with Canzano’s tweet and the SLT report. Neither team has nothing riding on the WCC Tournament, they are both locks. Gonzaga, of course, will most likely be the number one overall seed and BYU will be a solid eight. Skipping your conference tournament has never seen a better time.
If you asked me this a year or two ago, I would have said you need to play in your conference tournament to make the NCAA one. But everything going on with COVID and the high risk of traveling, you almost need to strategize and really think out a future plan. Let’s say Gonzaga goes to Nevada, where the tournament is held, and a few players come in close contact and get COVID. It would be horrible for the players and getting sick this late in the season could totally affect how they play in March. Whether you want to think about it or not, getting a disease that affects your lungs will play a factor into a high cardio sport.
Aside from this, what if Jalen Suggs or Corey Kispert get hurt? Not a serious injury but say an ankle sprain, they will be affected come March. “But John they could have been affected by this all year!” You are absolutely right. But it is too close to March to even put that possibility into play. There is no team in the country, other than maybe Baylor, who has more pressure to win this year. This is Mark Few’s best team he has ever had and you can bet your ass those kids want to win one for him.
I think both teams will ultimately play with everything all said and done. They have come this far to not play in the WCC Tournament and it could be a nice warm up for March. All I am saying is that I wouldn’t be upset or mad if they opt out. Same goes for other locks such as Baylor, Michigan, Ohio State, and Villanova. These are all teams who have a lot to lose during their conference tournaments and there is no reason to risk a championship for a useless tournament.
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