ATI 2013.07 – Breaking News: The Cougars Aren’t Going Dancing in March

Ask the Ineligibles

BYU loss to USDLosing at San Diego was hard enough to believe, but losing at home to San Francisco is almost unthinkable, yet, BYU managed to accomplish both tasks this past week.  What is going on with this team?

Carl: Not sure what’s happening.  My gut tells me that WCC teams are not afraid of rising up to the level of BYU.  My gut also tells me I get heartburn in the morning if I eat salsa on my eggs on an empty stomach.  BYU simply doesn’t have the swagger we’ve seen the last 5 seasons. Have I mentioned recently that they’re still shooting terribly from beyond the arc?  The offense has gotten so progressively worse that nobody is willing to take shots except for the Big 3.

Matt: This team isn’t who I thought they were.  Last week in this space I said I would tell Dave Rose just to stay the course and it would continue to improve.  I couldn’t have been more wrong. I don’t know what’s going on.  It’s almost as if this team needs to be slapped around once in a while to get focused; unfortunately, they always get slapped by the Gonzagas and the Saint Mary’s and can’t afford to get slapped by anyone else. But if they need their fix; I guess it doesn’t matter who it is.  Regrettably, this last weekend all but punched a ticket to the NIT and it may have punched their ticket to an away destination instead of the living in the comfy confines of the Marriott Center.

Mike: The San Diego games happen to everyone.  Poor free throws on the road and the lesser team wins.  The San Francisco game was absurd.  In February with the season literally on the line BYU craps the bed at home to the Dons.  I’m mystified by how strange this team is playing lately.  Teams that lose a starter due to injury or a coach getting fired play like BYU does of late.  BYU has neither going on which makes these games mysterious.

Scott: I am going to go with “they were looking ahead.” It’s probably not true, but it sounds better. The truth is I think there is a scouting report on Tyler Haws, and its “be physical with him.” It seems like a lot of teams have been having success against him lately, and they are all being physical with him. It’s a big problem, because, judging by the after-the-play shove he gave the opponent, it is obviously getting to him. We needed a third scorer, and now we might actually need a 2nd.

WCC 2013 TournamentAfter two bad losses, does BYU have to win the West Coast Conference tournament to get in? Or will a win at Saint Mary’s and at home against Gonzaga do the trick?

Carl: BYU must win WCC tournament to get a bid.  Anything less is NIT bound.  Beating Gonzaga at home and St Mary’s twice and losing in finals to Gonzaga only gets BYU barely back to the bubble.  The last two losses dropped BYU’s RPI 20+ spots and won’t regain them with those wins.  BYU must play their way in now; they have no other alternate routes to get an at-large.  Consequently, if BYU wins the WCC tournament, it likely takes St Mary’s out of March Madness, which would be some good karma to balance out the Dellavadagger.

Matt: There is only one way to go Dancing in March for this team, and they have to win the lottery by beating Gonzaga in the WCC Final.  Sometimes you get lucky and the girl will ask you to go, but unless you earn the right, you’re often left wondering.  And nothing, I repeat NOTHING, BYU does between now and March 11 will matter if they don’t win on March 11 in Las Vegas.

Mike: BYU has a snowballs chance in the deepest canyon in hell of beating Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga based on how they’re playing.  I’ve given myself over to a humiliating first or second round NIT loss to end BYU’s bizarre season.  To answer the question, BYU is 0-5 vs. RPI top 50 and have 2 rotten February losses. Barring divine intervention they are going nowhere near the NCAA tourney this year.

Scott: I think the more likely way BYU gets into the NCAA tournament is by winning the tournament. Until last week, this team could hang its hat on not having any bad losses. Not anymore. They need important wins. They will probably have to sweep USU, St. Mary’s, and Gonzaga. That seems like a lot. If they do that, I think they get in, but I don’t think that’s happening.

Pin TailWith BYU’s recent struggles, what kind of team is this basketball team and why? Are they terrible, bad, average, good, or great?

Carl: This team is still really good; they’re not terrible.  Psychologically, they’re terrible, basketcase, depressed, etc.  At any point in a game I feel as though there are demons in their head telling them they could lose at any time.  It’s bothering them, you can tell.  When USF began their run of 3’s to come back and pull away, you saw BYU players think ‘Here we go again.’  Ultimately, I’m not sure Gonzaga could have beat USF the way they shot the ball in the second half.  But it’s the mentality of the players and the dejection they are feeling is damaging the team chemistry.

Matt: I can’t sign off on calling this team “good” or “great.”  I just can’t.  I don’t think it’s fair to Dave Rose to call them “bad” either so I’m pinning the tail on this donkey firmly on ”average.”  If they had any less of a coach, I believe the lack of focus on this team would land them in the “bad” area.  Mentally, they are weak.  Physically, they underperform.  As a team, they do not play well together.  They defer too much to the Big 3 who are each easily removed from the equation when you can throw a double team at any of them without wondering who might score on you if you leave your guy.  This team just is not playing to its potential and I can’t explain it.

Mike: BYU is a good team playing terrible.  Most good teams spend the first two months of the season figuring out who they are and how good they can become.  This year’s BYU team is still trying to determine who they are with 2 weeks left in the season.  My guess is Gonzaga, who I think is the best team west of Kansas, is going to show BYU in Provo and in Vegas how glaringly average BYU is this year.

Scott: Many fans seem to think this team is bad. I don’t think this BYU team is ever terrible or bad, but they are never great either. Their play alternates between average and good throughout the season. They’re inconsistent, but they are *cough* young, at least in college basketball years. I’m excited to see them all develop over the next couple years. I think as they mature, they will alternate between good and great. The casual fans were spoiled by the Jimmer years, and they expect to be in the Top 25 every year. That won’t happen, but there will be better years ahead.

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