This is an archived article that was published on in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Despite going 37-17, spending the better part of half the season in the national rankings and winning a piece of the West Coast Conference regular-season championship, the BYU baseball team did not hear its name called Monday morning when the NCAA Baseball Tournament at-large bids were announced.

It wasn't a huge surprise, given that the Cougars went 0-2 at the WCC Tournament in Stockton, Calif., last weekend. Coach Mike Littlewood said prior to the tournament that the Cougars might have to get to the championship game to secure a bid — and they obviously didn't.

Saint Mary's goes to the NCAAs as the conference champion, and Gonzaga got an at-large bid.

Were the Cougars close to getting in? Probably not.

A bracketologist on ESPNU's show Monday morning did not have BYU among his last four out.

So, what happened?

How did a team that was 18-1 at one juncture and 23-3 at another fall so hard the second half of the season? How did a team that handled Pac-12 champion Utah 6-0 and 14-3 in March and April (yes, the Utes were trying to win, just as BYU was trying to win on May 17 when it lost 8-1 to Utah in SLC) come up so empty in late May?

Apologists will point to the fact that four of the team's best five pitchers, arguably, were injured heading into the final month of the season. But that doesn't explain why the bats that were so productive the first half were pretty much silenced the second half, except on a few occasions.

There's no doubting that the program took a step forward in Littlewood's fourth year, but going 14-14 to end the season is certainly not the way the Cougars would have liked to finish.

A collapse? That's a bit harsh, but how a team that was flying so high in mid April could fall so fast is puzzling, if nothing else.

The Cougars will lose three key players from this team; Seniors Eric Urry (center fielder) and Hayden Nielsen (shortstop) will graduate and junior right-hander Michael Rucker will likely be drafted in June and turn pro.

The club is loaded with talented freshman and sophomores, but replacing Rucker will be very difficult. So will forgetting the finish to the 2016 season — for all the wrong reasons.