BYU men's basketball vs. Idaho State 10

BYU fans hold up various signs as an Idaho State Bengals player takes a foul shot during a game between Brigham Young University and Idaho State University on Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, at the Marriott Center in Provo. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

It’s impossible to fill the gaping void in the hearts of college basketball fans everywhere who are mourning the loss of their beloved NCAA basketball tournament — and its accompanying bracket excitement — in 2020 due to efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But the Daily Herald’s BYU reporters Darnell Dickson and Jared Lloyd are giving Cougar fans a chance to play out a bracket of their own:

The Greatest BYU Men’s Basketball Team of All Time Bracket. Dickson and Lloyd combed through the annals of Cougar hoops history and have selected the 16 BYU squads they believe earned the right to vie for the illustrious title.

Those historic Cougar teams have been seeded by the committee (no computers or NET rankings here) and put into a four-round tournament — and you get the chance to vote for which team you think should advance all the way to the top.

Will there be upsets?

Will it just go straight chalk?

Will great memories of BYU stars of the past and present prove to be enough to propel one squad past another?

Cougar fans, you get to make those calls.

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.

Dickson and Lloyd will make a case for each team to help remind you of what they accomplished and then the choice will be yours.

Two great teams from BYU’s great 1950 teams square off in the No. 4/No. 13 matchup — but only one will be able to advance to the Elite 8 in our bracket.

Roland Minson

No. 4-seed: BYU 1950-51 (28-9, NIT champs, NCAA Elite 8)

There aren’t many people around today who realize just how good the 1950-51 Cougar basketball team was but it could easily have been the best ever. Led by the dynamic duo of forward Roland Minson (16.7 points per game) and center Mel Hutchins (15.7 ppg, 12.7 rebounds per game), BYU was talented and versatile.

The Cougars earned an invitation to the most prestigious tournament of the time, the National Invitational Tournament in New York, where they stomped St. Louis, Seton Hall and Dayton on their way to their first-ever national-level title. BYU might’ve kept rolling through the NCAA tournament as well but team-wide illness and an ankle injury to Hutchins played big roles in losses to Kansas State and Washington in the Elite 8.

— Jared Lloyd

Tom Steinke

Tom Steinke

No. 13-seed: BYU 1956-57 (19-9, NCAA Sweet 16)

The Cougars played in the Smith Fieldhouse and were coached by the legendary Stan Watts. A strong senior class featured Tom Steinke (19.7 points per game), John Benson (18.4), Harry Anderson (10.4) and Lynn Rowe (8.9). BYU won the Mountain States Conference regular-season title and was one of 23 schools invited to the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars received a bye to the regional semifinals, where they lost to Cal 86-59. BYU defeated Idaho State 65-54 in the West Regional third place game

—Darnell Dickson

Be sure to get your vote logged at CougarBlue.com!

Check back Tuesday for the No. 6/No. 11 seed matchup in The Greatest BYU Men’s Basketball Team of All Time Bracket.

You can also vote in previous rounds as well:

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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