BYU men's basketball hosts Creighton in NIT quarterfinal 23

Fans react to a play during the men's NIT quarterfinal basketball game between Brigham Young University and Creighton on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at the Marriott Center in Provo. BYU defeated Creighton with a final score off 88-82 and will be moving on to the semifinals in New York City. SAMMY JO HESTER, Daily Herald

16 teams ... eight matchups ... and a host of memories.

The Greatest BYU Men’s Basketball Team of All Time Bracket has highlighted some amazing Cougar squads from the last 100 years and gave every BYU fan a chance to dig into the rich hoops history of the program.

But, as with all brackets, only half of them will survive the first round and advance to the Elite 8.

Many of the first-round contests — just like in the NCAA tournament — were probably pretty straightforward. One of the two teams may have stood out as clearly having accomplished more overall during their season.

Now it’s going to get a little bit tougher as good teams meet good teams with both looking to advance.

So get ready to vote and show which squad deserves victory.

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 No. 6-seeded team didn’t accomplish as much as the No. 3-seed — but it dealt with some unforeseeable circumstances. How will that factor in?

Gonzaga BYU Basketball

BYU's Blaze Nield, left, and Yoeli Childs, right, are surrounded by fans following the team's 91-78 victory over Gonzaga in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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

BYU NIT 1966

No. 3-seed: BYU 1965-66 (20-5, NIT champions)

The Cougars started the 1965-66 season early, winning 19 of 22 games played on a tour of South America and Mexico. BYU averaged 95.5 points per game, the highest in school history, behind Dick Nemelka (24.0 ppg), Steve Kramer (18.3), Jeff Congdon (15.9) and Neil Roberts (10.8).

The Cougars were invited to the 14-team National Invitational Tournament, held at Madison Square Garden, as the No. 1 seed and defeated Temple (90-78), Army (66-60) and NYU (97-84) to win the title. In the championship game, Nemelka was saddled with foul trouble so juniors Craig Raymond and Gary Hill came off the bench to score 21 points each. BYU finished the year with a 20-6 record in what was the second NIT title for coach Stan Watts.

— Darnell Dickson

Which of these two BYU men's basketball teams had the better body of work?

You voted:

Check back Tuesday for the final matchup of the Elite Eight round in The Greatest BYU Men’s Basketball Team of All Time Bracket.

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

First Round

Elite 8

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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