March 17, 2009John
I must admit that I was shocked when I heard that BYU was matched up with Texas A&M again. I remember the feeling last year and A&M just isn’t a really good match up for us. They just have more athletes. However, we were in the game and so I think we still have a chance. On top of this, I think there are a number of other reasons why I’m still optimistic about BYU’s chances against Texas A&M in the tournament.
Jimmer Fredette – Jimmer is the future of BYU and thankfully he’s here now. He’s the first point guard at BYU in my lifetime (or at least memory) that can take someone off the dribble, get penetration and take it to the hoop. Plus, Jimmer just seems like a big game guy who seems to really get up for big games and I think he’ll do the same on college basketball’s biggest stage.
Team Defense – I haven’t heard nearly enough about BYU’s defense this year. I mentioned this a while back, but I think that BYU’s help defense and rotating to cover the open man is the best I’ve ever seen it. Add in quick hands by Jackson Emery and the JT’s ability to cause steals and turnovers (which is a surprise to me) and I have reason for optimism.
Underestimating Lee Cummard/Jackson Emery – Let’s be honest. If you looked at Lee Cummard and Jackson Emery for the first time, would you be nervous? Sure, they’ll have a reasonable amount of tape and hype on Lee, but he’s so long that I think that it takes teams a little bit to realize what he’s capable of doing. Emery should surprise people even more. Just wait and see if the A&M coach isn’t singing these 2 guys names after the game.
Miles Free Throw Shooting – I’m too lazy to look up the specific numbers, but we’re all familiar with Miles past troubles at the foul line. I’m not sure what has made the difference, but I’m not getting a heart attack every time Miles goes to the free throw line. In fact, he really seems to have some confidence on the line and won’t be the reason we lose the game.
Any other reasons that I’ve left out? I can’t wait for the game!!Tags: BYU Basketball • Chris Miles • Jackson Emery • Jimmer Fredette • Lee Cummard • March Madness • Texas A&M
March 12, 2009David
With the conference tournament really starting today, it merits a few moments to consider what BYU stands to lose, and in turn gain, in the tournament.
In short, I really don’t think the outcome of the tournament will have a tremendous impact on BYU in terms of the NCAA tournament. Of course losing to Air Force in the first round would not be a good thing, but how likely is that to happen. Beyond a first round loss there really is not much damage to be done. Losing to San Diego St. would not be a huge upset, nor would losing to UNLV in their home invitational. Losing in the championship to anyone else would not be terribly tragic either.
In terms of what good can come of it, I also feel it is limited. Lets just say that BYU beats AFA, then either San Diego St. or UNLV who are pretty comparable, and Utah in the championship. All that may do is move BYU up one seed, two at the most. So instead of being an 8-9 seed they are a 7-8. There really is not a huge difference in the long run.
The biggest thing BYU could gain from the tournament is getting on a roll. It is insane how good they are when they get hot. With a shooting team like BYU it cannot be overlooked how important getting on a run can be. When shooters get hot it is hard to stop them. Playing three quality games in a familiar, if not friendly, arena could do wonders for helping them go into the big dance with some momentum.
Either way, I am excited for the tournament to start and the madness that is march to commence.Tags: Air Force • BYU Basketball • Las Vegas • March Madness • Mountain West Conference • Mountain West Conference Tournament • NCAA Tournament • San Diego St. • UNLV • Utah • Utah Utes
March 10, 2009David
The end of the regular season gives me cause to reflect on the events of this year all the way back to the end of last season. The biggest decisions that affected how this season played out were made shortly after the season when Trent Plaisted decided to declare for the NBA Draft, and Lee Cummard decided to stay.
There is no way that anyone could possibly know what would have happened if those choices were changed in anyway. All we can do at this point is look at how those decisions have played out.
First, we’ll consider Plaisted. He was drafted number 46 by the Seattle Supersonics, now the Oklahoma City Thunder, and was immediately traded to the Detroit Pistons. He ultimately signed with Angelico Biella in Italy until he suffered a season ending injury in December.
While there is no telling how his fate would have changed had he stayed at BYU, at the time, I think he made the right choice to enter the draft, and I still do. There is no way you can forecast an injury, and with a full season of development he may very well have cracked into an NBA roster next season.
Now lets consider Cummard. Many so called experts felt he had a good chance to be drafted, but there is little reason to believe he would have gone much higher, if at all, than Plaisted did. The risk you run of staying another season is you may get injured, or you may not have a very good year, and your stock could drop.
While Cummard did not get injured, he did not have quite the stellar season he probably would have hoped for. He obviously did not show that he is a superstar team leader, but that is not all bad. In this day and age of egotistical superstars, there is more need than ever for roleplayers that are willing to do the dirty work.
I look at Lee as more of an Adam Keefe type player. Someone that you know will work their butt off, scrap for rebounds, and in the vein of Robert Horry, may just hit a game winner for you when the game is on the line. He is not an up and down emotional player, but rather someone that will consistently give you all he has. He will probably never put up 20 points a game in the NBA, but he may just be the difference maker in a series like Robert Horry, Steve Kerr, or Jeff Hornacek.
There is no way to know what would have happened if Lee had entered the draft last year, but as a diehard BYU fan, I would just like to personally say thank you to Lee for all of his hard work in his time at BYU. He has been a huge part of building a foundation of success at BYU that will hopefully last for years to come. Best of luck in the Las Vegas Invitational, and the Big Dance, and here’s hoping you find much success in the NBA, you deserve it.Tags: Adam Keefe • Angelico Biella • BYU Basketball • Detroit Pistons • Jeff Hornacek • Las Vegas Invitational • Lee Cummard • March Madness • Mountain West Conference • Mountain West Conference Tournament • NBA Draft • Oklahoma City Thunder • Robert Horry • Seattle Supersonics • Steve Kerr • The Big Dance • Trent Plaisted
If you told me at the beginning of the season that BYU would have a share of the MWC championship, I would have been very happy. Well, I actually am happy for BYU, but it seems to be a kind of empty happiness.
This is one of the oddest seasons I’ve experienced. Usually BYU has one killer marquee win that makes you feel like the team has potential to be really great. Of course, that major marquee win (or two) is almost always paired with some loss which should have never happened.
A quick look at the losses and you see that BYU Basketball basically won the games they should have won and lost the games they should have lost. The only exception was the loss to UNLV at home. However, I don’t think anyone is really all that surprised that UNLV could beat us at home. UNLV always seems to find something extra special when playing BYU and so the loss wasn’t a huge surprise. Disappointing, but not surprising.
I think the hollow feeling I have is related to two losses to UNLV (which makes me really sick since I work at UNLV) and a loss to the Yewts (this is never good). Add in the near marquee win becoming a 1 point loss to Arizona St on a change of call alongside a competitive game against Wake Forest until the last 5-10 minutes and I sit here wondering if this team is for real or not.
The question remains of whether this team can finally do the deed and win the Las Vegas Invitational and then a win in the NCAA tournament. They haven’t given me a reason not to believe, but they haven’t given me a reason to believe either.
My greatest hope lies in Jimmer. We’ve dreamed about having a player at BYU who can take it to the hoop. We finally have him and I believe he’ll be the difference in March.Tags: Arizona State • BYU Basketball • Jimmer Fredette • March Madness • NCAA Tournament • UNLV • UNLV Invitational • Wake Forest • Yewts