Eye on the Y: It’s unlikely BYU will add a basketball game to the schedule this weekend. Will that hurt the Cougars?

Without an opponent, the Cougars will go 10 days without playing a game. What does that mean for their NCAA Tournament chances?

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars forward Gideon George (5) goes to the hoop as Pacific Tigers guard Broc Finstuen (24) defends, in basketball action at the Marriott Center in Provo, on Saturday, Jan. 30, 2021.

It’s been a hot minute since Monday’s game against Gonzaga, but it looks like BYU will have to keep waiting to play again.

The Cougars’ next scheduled game is Feb. 18, at Pacific. BYU was originally scheduled to play Saint Mary’s on Thursday and San Diego on Saturday, but both of those programs are currently on pause with COVID-19 issues.

Seeing as Gonzaga is the top-ranked team in the nation and playing at a nearly NBA-caliber level, Monday’s loss didn’t hurt the Cougars. In fact, it could be seen as a success to have lost by only 11 points when the Zags are burying most opponents by much more than that.

But the Saint Mary’s game, particularly with a win, would have definitely helped BYU cement a single-digit seed in the NCAA Tourney.

The Cougars currently have four postponed games — San Francisco, Saint Mary’s and San Diego (x2) — but with the way the West Coast Conference has been plagued by COVID-19, particularly within the California teams, it’s looking unlikely BYU will be able to put them all back on the schedule, or any at all.

On Monday, coach Mark Pope mentioned he’s looking for nonconference opponents to fit in. But with cancellations and postponements happening all over the nation, it will prove to be a tall task to make that happen.

So what if BYU is unable to add someone to the schedule?

First thought is that it would result in a 10-day hiatus. Without playing a game in that time, the Cougars could lose momentum and struggle to wrap up the rest of the regular season. Also, no one wants to sit on a loss for that long.

But, on the other hand, I don’t think it’ll hurt BYU’s postseason chances too greatly.

The Cougars aren’t the only team dealing with these scheduling troubles — it’s literally happening to everyone. Going without playing for 10 days might allow some other program to bump BYU a spot or two, but the Cougars should still be a shoe-in for the tournament.

What’s more important right now is how BYU performs in the games it has left, then use any previously postponed games or other game opportunities to help bolster them higher in projections.

I’m sure Pope is all over it.

The latest BYUtv Deep Blue episode really resonated

There’s always room for improvement and growth. At least, that’s what I’ve always believed.

And I was once again reminded of that two nights ago, after watching the latest Deep Blue episode.

For those that aren’t familiar, Deep Blue is a series on BYUtv that tells human interest stories of BYU athletes, coaches and fans. Their most recent video focused on BYU forward Gideon George.

At one point in the video, BYU coach Mark Pope and the New Mexico Junior College coach talk about how George picked shoes out of the trash. George’s roommate and teammate threw out some shoes that had been worn out and caused his feet to get sore.

But George saw it as an opportunity to help kids back home and started collecting old shoes to send back with Timeout4Africa. Growing up, George received shoes from the same organization — and that’s how he was able to start playing basketball.

I’ve known poverty, but never to the level of what George and his friends grew up with. As a daughter of Mexican immigrants who grew up on the border, I was fortunate enough to spend many afternoons, days, weeks, holidays — pretty much any free time — across the border in Mexico. That led me to see even worse cases of poverty than our own, but it still wasn’t a first-hand experience. I was looking at it through a lens.

What I will say about those below the poverty line is they tend to give more.

When my sisters and I were little, our parents tried to instill in us how, even though we didn’t have much, we had a lot more than a great deal of people. At the end of every year, we’d collect toys and plushes we no longer wanted or needed. Then, on New Year’s Day, we’d drive across the river and go around finding families on the streets to give the kids a present.

I miss doing that.

Since the pandemic has started, I have cleaned out my closet three times as I continuously come to realize what I don’t use or don’t miss using. However, I’ve just donated it to a local thrift store, where the items will be resold.

George reminded me that I need to do better.

Why give my items to a business/corporation that will profit off my clothes when I can help people in need directly? It was easier to do that when I lived in an area where more than half of the people were below the poverty line and I had a third-world country essentially in my backyard, but I shouldn’t use that as an excuse now that I’ve grown in my career and moved away from the border.

So, thank you, Gideon George, for reminding me of how important it is to help those in need directly. At times, it can literally be life changing for them, even if it was a minor thing for you.

I hope to get better and not take for granted the things I have now. And I’ll definitely have better consideration for what I will do with things I no longer need or want.

More thoughts

• Speaking of home, for those that are unaware, I grew up in the Rio Grande Valley — the four southernmost counties in Texas. I attended the local university (then UTPA), lived there until I was 26 and have so much love for that region and its people. So, it saddened me to see the news of UTRGV men’s basketball coach Lew Hill’s passing on Sunday. I never met him or knew him personally in any way, but he was doing so much for the team and community. I kept tabs from afar and was happy to see him being successful.

Following Monday night’s game, I asked BYU coach Mark Pope for his thought on the recent news. He and Hill became friends before both of them started coaching in the Western Athletic Conference.

“I love him,” Pope said. “He was just a special human being with a giant heart, and a ton of love for the game and brought so much joy. He was a good friend to everybody in the game of basketball.”

• Has anyone else wondered where Lauren Gustin came from? In her first season as a BYU Cougar, Gustin has put on a show. But BYU is her third collegiate program. Here’s a look at how she got to Provo.

Other voices

• Robby McCombs, from Vanquish the Foe, breaks down possible nonconference opponents BYU could add to the schedule before its next game, Feb. 18.

Ryan Clark explains why he could see the Jets drafting Zach Wilson with the No. 2 pick as he compares the BYU QB to Patrick Mahomes.

Yoeli Childs had an impressive G League debut, wrote Mitch Harper of KSL Sports.

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BYU’s Lauren Gustin is the nation’s second-best rebounder.

Lauren Gustin de BYU es la segunda mejor reboteadora del país.