BYU men’s basketball picked to finish second in West Coast Conference

Cougars Alex Barcello and Caleb Lohner named to preseason All-WCC team.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brigham Young Cougars guard Brandon Averette (4),and Alex Barcello (13), double-team Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24), in West Coast Conference Basketball action between the Brigham Young Cougars and the Gonzaga Bulldogs at the Marriott Center in Provo, on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.

After a second consecutive successful, 20-win season, BYU men’s basketball was picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference preseason poll.

With 72 points and one first-place vote, the Cougars are behind just Gonzaga (89 points; nine first place votes) in the poll released on Thursday.

After losing two of three seniors and a few other key reserves to transfers, BYU is returning eight players from last year’s squad that went into the NCAA Tournament as a No. 6 seed.

Senior Alex Barcello, however, chose to take advantage of the extra year of eligibility offered due to the pandemic. The senior led BYU in points (16.1), assists (4.3), steals (0.9), 3-point percentage (47.7%) and free-throw percentage (85.6%), and was No. 10 nationally in 3-point percentage.

Barcello and Caleb Lohner were both named to the All-WCC preseason team.

After making his way into the starting lineup, Lohner led the team in rebounding (7.1) and averaged 7.0 points per game.

Throughout the offseason, BYU added nine newcomers, who, along with other key returners like Gavin Baxter and Gideon George, will be looking to make a consecutive trip into the NCAA Tournament.

The first step toward the goal begins Nov. 4, when the Cougars start the 2021-22 season with a home exhibition game against Colorado Christian on Nov. 4. The regular season starts Nov. 9 against Cleveland State.

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