BYU to play Oregon in NCAA Tournament

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) -  It was a nervous few days for the BYU basketball team, but in the end, the Cougars receive a bid to the Big Dance.

BYU received a surprsing 10-seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament and will play 7th-seeded Oregon in the West Region on Thursday in Milwaukee, Wis., at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. 

The game will start at 1:10 mountain time.

"It's kind of been a crazy few days," said leading scorer Tyler Haws. "We're just waiting, not knowing what's going to happen, but we were pretty confident that we were going to get in. I think it was our strength of schedule."

"I almost passed out," admitted freshman center Eric Mika. "We were jumping around and the room got really hot really fast. I'm not kidding, I had to sit down after a little bit. It was really fun."

This is the ninth-straight season BYU has played in the postseason and the seventh time the Cougars have reached the NCAA Tournament under head coach Dave Rose. 

Oregon received an at-large bid after finishing the regular season at 23-9 overall and 10-8 in the Pac-12. The Ducks are led by Joseph Young, who averages 18.6 points per game and shoots .475 from the field, .416 from three and .884 from the free throw line. Mike Moser averages 13.5 points per game and a team-best 8.0 rebounds while Jason Calliste is third on the team in scoring at 12.4 points per game.

BYU’s second round game will be a rematch as the Cougars and Ducks met earlier this season on Dec. 21, 2013, in Eugene, Ore., at Matthew Knight Arena. Oregon defeated the Cougars 100-96 in overtime.

"Listening to everybody and it seemed pretty consistent that we were going to be the last team in and we were going to end up in Dayton," said Rose. "I was just hoping that was true, and then to see how it turned out, we were really excited."

This will be BYU’s 28th NCAA Tournament appearance and seventh in the past eight years (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014). The Cougars have a 15-30 record in the NCAA tournament dating back to their first appearance in the tournament in 1950.

Rose has guided the Cougars to wins in their last three NCAA tournament appearances. In 2010, BYU won its first NCAA tournament game since 1993 in a 99-92 double-overtime thriller against Florida. The next season, led by National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette, the Cougars reached the Sweet 16. In 2012, BYU defeated Iona in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio, as the Cougars overcame a 25-point deficit to record the biggest comeback in NCAA tournament history.

In 2013-14, BYU earned its highest finish in its three seasons in the West Coast Conference with a 23-11 overall record and 13-5 in conference. The Cougars finished second in the regular season and also the conference tournament behind Gonzaga, the No 8 seed in the West Region. WCC Player of the Year Tyler Haws led the WCC and is sixth in the nation in scoring with 24.3 points per game. Haws and Kyle Collinsworth earned All-WCC and WCC All-Tournament honors, while Matt Carlino was named All-WCC Honorable Mention. Collinsworth will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL he suffered in the WCC championship game against Gonzaga.

The winner of No. 10 seed BYU vs. No. 7 Oregon will face the winner of No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 15 American on Saturday, March 22, in Milwaukee.

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