BYU men's basketball vs. Texas Southern 09

BYU fans dance during a timeout in a game between Brigham Young University and Texas Southern University on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Great BYU basketball teams from the past have been eliminated by even better Cougars squads.

The numbers just keep getting whittled down as the rounds advance but that is going to make the choices more and more difficult.

How do you choose between teams with superstars like Danny Ainge, Jimmer Fredette, Mel Hutchins, Dick Nemelka and Kresimir Cosic?

How do you balance high rankings, postseason success and wins and losses?

Each detail becomes more and more important as you examine the teams in the Final Four as each has a legitimate shot to be crowned as the best in BYU hoops history.

So keep voting to see which will be crowned as the champs.

Just a reminder: Don’t make your judgment based on which team you think would win if a squad from one era faced a squad from another. Given the numerous changes to the game of basketball in the last century, that method is virtually impossible.

Instead, you should select the team that you think has the better overall body of work — i.e. the one that was the “greatest” of the two that are matched up against each other.

Daily Herald’s BYU reporters Darnell Dickson and/or Jared Lloyd will make a case for each team to help remind you of what they accomplished and then the choice will be yours.

The second Final Four battle pits a BYU team that made a deep NCAA run against a Cougar squad that never got a chance. Which overall accomplishment was greater?

BYU men's basketball vs. Gonzaga

BYU senior TJ Haws lays on the floor in celebration after the 91-78 Cougar win at the Marriott Center in Provo on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020.

No. 6-seed: BYU 2019-20 (24-8, season ended early)

You know the story because it’s still so raw: A week before the Cougars would have played their first game in the NCAA’s, the tournament was canceled due to concerns over the COVID-19 virus. BYU would have likely been a No. 6 seed and several national pundits had picked the Cougars as a darkhorse Final Four candidate.

BYU was the top 3-point shooting team in the country (42%) and also featured one of the best big men in the country in Yoeli Childs (22.2 points, 9,0 rebounds per game). He was part of a strong senior class that included Jake Toolson (15.2 ppg, 85 3-pointers) and T.J. Haws (14 ppg, 185 assists). The Cougars had overcome so much adversity — Childs’ nine-game NCAA suspension and numerous injuries — that they seemed destined to finish strong. BYU posted a 24-8 record and was ranked No. 17 in the final AP poll.

— Darnell Dickson

Jimmer Fredette

BYU's Jimmer Fredette awaits an inbound pass during the team's game against CSU at the Marriott Center in Provo Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. MARK JOHNSTON/Daily Herald

No. 2-seed: BYU 2010-11 (31-5, NCAA Sweet 16)

This was another “what-if?” team: What if Brandon Davies hadn’t been suspended in late February due to an Honor Code violation? There wasn’t a dominant team in college basketball that year and with Davies the Cougars had a good chance of reaching the Final Four.

Jimmer Fredette had a nice setup year as a junior but no one could have predicted he would win the NCAA Player of the Year in 2011. Fredette became the most popular player in the country after scoring 47 points in a win at Utah. The Cougars opened the season winning 20 of their first 21 games, including a memorable 71-58 victory over undefeated San Diego State in a sold out Marriott Center. BYU earned a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament and defeated Wofford (74-66) and Gonzaga (89-67) to earn the school’s first trip to the Sweet 16 since 1981. The Cougars lost to Florida 83-74 in overtime and finished the season with a 32-5 record.

— Darnell Dickson

Check back Saturday for the championship battle in The Greatest BYU Men’s Basketball Team of All Time Bracket.

Get your final votes in! You can also vote in previous round as well:

Final 4

Daily Herald sports reporter Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or jlloyd@heraldextra.com. Twitter: @JaredrLloyd. Instagram: @JaredrLloyd.

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