17. BYU (12-2)
The Cougars have gotten their first season in the Big 12 off to an exciting start. An early win over San Diego State set the stage for a slate that’s included a few other nice wins and a tough loss at Utah. They won twelve nonconference game and barrel into their first Big 12 slate with heightened expectations, though perhaps those were premature?
Their debut did not go quite as expected. The Cougars built a nice halftime lead at home against Cincinnati but fell apart in the second half, losing 71-60. Trevin Knell had 27 points and was much of the offense for the Cougars, who shot just 33% from the field in a rough ending performance.
The first two months of the season saw a lot of good from BYU and one bad half against the Bearcats doesn’t destroy that progress. The Big 12 is going to pose a significant challenge in the months ahead and this team might not be as elite as we thought, but there’s a road to success in March here. A road trip to Baylor awaits on Tuesday and will tell us a lot about this team, especially after blowing this game versus Cincinnati.