If you could say anything to Head Coach Dave Rose on how to improve this year’s team, what would it be? Why?
Carl: Play 40 minutes of basketball. How many times have we seen BYU this season not show up in the first half? We’ve seen them seemingly not care about playing inferior opponents, only to wake up in the second half and do enough to put a W in the win column. Winning confidently breeds confidence and builds the belief that they are capable of beating good teams if they’re committed.
Matt: “Stay the course coach.” Just that simple. I think this team is what they are going to be. Matt Carlino is coming on as the season progresses and if he can contain his energy against the top two teams, we can compete. His improvement forces a focus away from Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies that will allow them to be more present while on the floor. This team can’t really be any better than it is because Rose doesn’t have enough trust (or talent that is trustworthy) on the bench. They can only improve as Carlino improves.
Mike: I think chemistry is lacking and I can’t put my finger on why. It might be Carlino’s crazy play or any number of things. Whatever it is time has run out. Rose has three good college players and teams with three good players need to contend for conferences like the WCC.
Matt Carlino took a shot to the eye on Saturday that went unnoticed by the officials and he got super upset. Shortly thereafter, he got super hot and just went off against the Broncos in the Marriott Center. Do you want an upset Carlino leading your team or would you rather he not play so boldly?
Carl: It worked on Saturday, but I hesitate to say that an upset Carlino would be more productive over the long-term. We’ve said it all season; he has tremendous skills, but hasn’t really shown his full potential to the best competition in front of him. He’s still developing; he’ll get better. And I have a hunch that next season, if he gets upset, he might be close to unstoppable, even against Gonzaga or Saint Mary’s.
Matt: It really is hard to say. It is really hard to play with someone who needs that sort of motivation to get going, but at the same time, it is really enjoyable to watch as well. I think there is something there with Carlino but he needs to find motivation that is self-generated and then is self-controlled. What I saw on Saturday was Matt playing motivated after the injury, but doing so within control and on his own terms. When he tries to get into a track meet or just outplay someone that is playing well, he gets burned. He just needs to improve his confidence even more and he’ll become deadly.
Mike: Who knows? If getting poked in the eye is the missing link to Carlino playing well then he’s more volatile than we thought. I like the cold-blooded side of Carlino but his wild inconsistency makes his random good play a wash.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Glockner said recently:
At some point, the vacant nature of the Cougars’ profile will become too much to overcome. That point is drawing very close after they were peppered at Gonzaga last week. That drops BYU to 0-6 vs. the RPI top 75. I don’t really see how this is a viable at-large profile, even with credible computer numbers. If they don’t beat Gonzaga and win at Saint Mary’s in the regular season, it’s probably auto bid or bust.
How much do you agree or disagree with this statement?
Carl: I agree with Glockner’s sentiment 100%. They don’t have any ‘bad’ losses on their record, but they don’t have any ‘resume-building’ wins to hang their hat on either. They’ll need to add Gonzaga or Saint Mary’s twice in order to give the selection committee something to look at. Besides, if they beat Gonzaga, BYU is staring at an RPI near 30; that’s automatic at-large bid territory.
Matt: He’s right on. BYU hasn’t done well against the teams that matter, whether in or out of conference. I think the key here will be beating Saint Mary’s in Moraga later this month. Beating Gonzaga at home is a feather in the cap, but people expect a team like BYU to defend their home court. And then a strong, no-worse-than-second-place showing in the WCC tournament (behind Gonzaga mind you) and they could make the Dance.
Mike: I agree completely. Look, the NCAA tournament is built from the best teams in the country. Not everyone deserves to go. If you don’t win your conference or conference tournament you need quality wins. BYU has zero wins vs. the RPI top 50. Even Utah has one win vs. the RPI top 50. The tragic part is that BYU has the players but so far has zero results in big games. Not sure how you justify BYU getting an at large with the current body of work.
How sweet was it to see Dennis Pitta play a big role in the Raven’s Super Bowl XLVII win as well as get that touchdown grab?
Carl: It’s really exciting to see a former BYU star playing such an integral part of a Super Bowl winning team. When was the last time that happened? Anything positive on the national stage only improves the product of BYU in the future.
Matt: It was really cool. I think the part that will stand out the most to me from Pitta in that game was just how relieved he was on the sidelines after Baltimore secured the win. He had had the dropped pass on the last play of the previous drive that would have continued the drive and likely secured the win without giving up possession. You could see just how relieved he was that the drop wasn’t going to ultimately cost his team the Super Bowl.
Mike: Very sweet. It reminded me of Chad Lewis in the same role at Philly; a great guy who works hard and deserves the rewards. I remember my Ute fan buddies telling me Pitta wouldn’t amount to anything in the NFL. Taking advice from a Ute fan regarding anything tight end related isn’t a best practice I would advise.