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Sunday, March 16, 2003
Updated: March 17, 5:21 PM ET

BYU would switch regionals if it wins two

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

The NCAA Tournament selection committee came up with a new plan Sunday after realizing it mistakenly placed BYU in a bracket that would call for it to possibly play on a Sunday.

As a Mormon-run school, BYU does not play any games on Sundays. If the 12th-seeded Cougars were to advance to the South Regional final, they would have been scheduled to play on Sunday, March 30.

Under the committee's revised plan, if BYU were to win its first two games, the Cougars would then move from the South Region to the Midwest Region. In that scenario, BYU would switch places with the team that reached the Sweet 16 from the Midwest (either Wisconsin, Weber State, Dayton, or Tulsa).

If BYU were to lose either its first game or second in the tournament, the schedules and pairings would be unaffected.

"They told us that if they changed it now that it would create more problems now," BYU athletics director Val Hale told ESPN.com. "If we lose, then it's a non-issue."

If the Cougars advance to the Sweet 16, they would face a likely matchup against Midwest top seed Kentucky.

"We wouldn't play on a Sunday, even if we were in the Elite Eight on a Sunday -- that's the school policy," BYU coach Steve Cleveland told ESPN.com. "The committee has done this for 100 years. They know that.

"We were told that the committee meant to put us as an 11th seed but wanted to make the Spokane regional work to have us in as a 12 (with Weber State as a 12, as well for fans in the state of Utah)," Cleveland said.

The NCAA is facing a similar problem with BYU's women's team. If the women reach the Final Four, they would be scheduled to play on a Sunday. Seeded 11th in the Mideast, the Cougars would have to win four games for the conflict to come into play. Hale didn't have an answer for a possible conflict in that tournament.

Sources close to the men's selection committee said they originally tried to switch BYU and Weber State, both No. 12 seeds playing in a Thursday-Saturday first- and second-round regional in Spokane. But each group of four feeds into a different regional. BYU's foursome feeds into the South's Friday-Sunday regional semifinal and Elite Eight. Weber State's foursome feeds into a Midwest Thursday-Saturday regional.

BYU is scheduled to play Connecticut in the first round, with the winner playing No. 4 Stanford or No. 13 San Diego. Weber State plays No. 5 Wisconsin, with the winner playing either No. 4 Dayton or No. 13 Tulsa. If the switch was made, BYU would have played Wisconsin while Weber State would have played Connecticut.

Weber, a state school in Utah, is allowed to play on Sundays as are fellow Division I state schools Utah and Utah State.

Sources said the committee put Kentucky in the Midwest to help with ticket sales in Minneapolis. Despite reports to the contrary, the committee did not try to avoid putting Arizona and Kentucky on the same side of the bracket. The source said the committee did not look ahead to see if they would meet in the Final Four.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.



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To avoid a Sunday issue, BYU coach Steve Cleveland said he figured the committee would swap his school's seed with Weber State's.
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