BYU Basketball: 4 Games That Will Make or Break Cougars' NCAA Tourney Bid

Samuel Benson@@sambbensonContributor IIIJanuary 23, 2013

BYU Basketball: 4 Games That Will Make or Break Cougars' NCAA Tourney Bid

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    BYU's basketball squad is considered as a "bubble team" by many analysts, and others have them missing the NCAA tournament. But one thing is certain: They lack very many quality wins.

    The Cougar schedule still has a few big conference games coming up, and several of them are make-or-break contests. If BYU wants to feel confident in earning a tourney bid, here are four games that they need to win.

February 19 vs. Utah State

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    Because of a postponement earlier in the year for this game, the Cougs welcome Utah State to Provo in mid-February. A win against the 14-3 Aggies would not be something to write home about, but a loss could kill any hopes of making a post-season run.

    USU has experience this season in the WCC, as they lost by single-digits to St. Mary's in November and beat Santa Clara in overtime.

February 21 at Saint Mary's

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    I cannot wait for this game.

    After Matthew Dellavedova beat BYU at the buzzer with a deep three-pointer in Provo last week, the Cougars will want to get that bitter taste out of their mouth in Moraga.

    If BYU loses this one, they will drop to 0-4 against the Gaels in the last two years, and they can't afford to drop another contest against them.

February 28 vs. Gonzaga

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    Although BYU travels to Spokane to play Gonzaga later this week, it will not be nearly as important as the game at home against them. Mark your calenders: The Bulldogs come to Provo on February 28.

    It has been discussed that the Cougars need to win at least one against Gonzaga this year to make the tourney, and playing at home is their best bet. Sure, a win on the road would be bigger than one at home in the bracketologists' eyes, but they have a much better chance to win in the Marriott Center.

March 6-11 at the WCC Tournament

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    The WCC tournament is not a single game, but it could be the difference maker for the Cougars to make a postseason appearance. If BYU loses one of the three previous games mentioned, their only hope will be to win the conference tourney.

    The Cougs are a definite long shot, with Gonzaga a favorite, but anything is possible. If worst comes to worst, they will have to go all the way in Las Vegas.