BYU’s rule against playing Sunday games could prompt Sweet 16 scheduling changes


It’s been a decade since BYU last advanced to the Sweet 16. If their drought ends this year, the NCAA could have a scheduling dilemma on its hands.

BYU’s athletic teams have never played on Sundays, observing a long-held Mormon tradition. However, an oversight by the NCAA selection committee has created a scenario where if the Cougars, who are slotted as the sixth seed in the “East” bracket, survive Rounds 1 and 2, their Sweet 16 matchup would fall on Sunday, March 28th.

As noted by ESPN’s Myron Medcalf, the selection committee made the same mistake in 2003, though BYU’s first-round loss to UConn that year made it a moot point. This time, however, the NCAA has a contingency plan in place should the Cougars triumph over Michigan State or UCLA (who are scheduled to face each other Thursday as part of the “First Four” play-in round) Saturday and again Monday in the Round of 32 against either Texas or Abilene Christian. If it comes to that, the East and Midwest region would swap schedules, instead holding their Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games on March 27th and 29th, respectively. Of course, if the Cougars lose this weekend, the schedule will remain as is.

The 20-6 Cougars came as close as anyone has to vanquishing undefeated Gonzaga this year, squandering a 12-point, halftime lead in last week's West Coast Conference title game. Per sports analytics, BYU has a 26-percent probability of reaching the Sweet 16.

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