Where Would BYU be Without the Yoeli Suspension, and Would That be a Good Thing?
Updated: Feb 18
BYU Basketball in all likelihood would have three more wins than they currently have if Yoeli Childs was never suspended.
Early in the season, BYU basketball dropped really close games to San Diego State, Boise State and Utah by a combined nine points. In those games, Yoeli Childs was suspended with an exception to Utah, where he cramped up in the second half likely due to playing too hard in his first live game since the Cougars played in Europe over the summer.
In those games, the Cougars would have in all likelihood won convincingly if Childs was never suspended for the first nine games by the NCAA. While there is no guarantee of this, it is hard to imagine BYU scoring at least ten more points each game having Childs who is currently averaging 21.9 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
With those three wins, the Cougars likely would be sitting at 24-4 overall and likely in a position to take a top five seed in the NCAA Tournament, even with two more losses to Gonzaga. On paper this seems like an opportunity that was robbed for the Cougars, but in reality could it be a blessing in disguise?
The Confidence of Kolby Lee, Dalton Nixon and Zac Seljaas
Coming into this season, Lee, Nixon and Seljaas were all coming off of rough seasons where it was obvious that their confidence was waning. While some of their new confidence can be attributed to Head Coach Mark Pope, there is no denying that a huge boost came from playing time.
All three of these players were asked to take on a critical role this season in the absence of Yoeli Childs. Lee took the starting power forward position while Seljaas and Nixon both saw their minutes increased at the forward position. With no real threat of losing playing time and with the team needing them be more contributing, all three players have done remarkably this season.
While I don't want to give all the credit to Childs not playing, there is no denying that Lee took a lot more shots and pulled down a lot more rebounds than he would have if Childs was on the floor.
However, on that same note, the Cougars lost three games that will likely cost them anywhere from 3-4 lines in the NCAA Tournament. Was it worth it? We asked you, and this is what Cougar Nation came up with.
Cougar Nation Wants the Five Seed...Slightly
Not Worth it: 59.8%
The biggest argument here is that a 4/5 seed has a much easier path to the Sweet 16 than an 8/9 seed because of the second round game. This group of fans shared that BYU is already 0-3 against current 1 seeds, so even if BYU is a better team because of the suspension, they will likely lose once they meet the one seed, so why not do that in the Sweet 16 as opposed to the Round of 32?
Worth it!: 40.2%
The viewpoint here is beyond making it to just the Sweet 16. There is no doubt that this scenario would have the best chance of seeing BYU make it to the Elite Eight or better. The odds of this are still very small, however they are much higher with a more confident BYU team that can rely on Kolby Lee, Dalton Nixon or Zac Seljaas taking a shot in clutch time. Also, if BYU gets Yoeli Childs into foul trouble in any game while in the tournament, they will be set up more better than if he had played the entire season.
Although Cougar Nation does appear to be favoring a higher seed, it isn't by a very strong majority. Both scenarios put BYU in a great opportunity to not only make the Tournament, but win a game or two. That's not a bad position to be in when you consider nobody had BYU in the tournament in the preseason.