Matt Carlino has struggled mightily in big games this season. While he may still be a young player, is it time for BYU to find a new point guard?
Carl: Who? You can still get good production out him. If Coach Rose doesn’t believe in him, he won’t play Carlino. Rose thinks he’s the most valuable point guard available currently and you have to go with your best. Next year could be a different story, depending on recruiting class and the possibility that Nick Emery could learn the point guard spot. But it will only be a positive that Carlino gets to fight for his right to be the starting PG. Pushing each other to be better is what makes us better. Who’s pushing Carlino right now?
Matt: I think BYU should find someone to tutor the young man in the off season. (Is Jimmer available?) I looked over the past few seasons of recruiting and since 2010, BYU has signed exactly one point guard, Jordan Chatman, son of former BYU hoopster, Jeff Chatman. And he is serving his mission right now. While he should be available for Dave Rose in 2014, he isn’t now and there isn’t anyone coming up to handle the rock beyond Carlino. So, he is it. No point in looking for someone now because there isn’t anyone to take the ball. He just needs to be tutored and regain the confident swagger that we still get glimpses of from time to time.
Mike: I think so. We’ve seen this helter-skelter story before with Tavenari. It’s worse at point guard as he has the ball every possession. Carlino’s deficiencies I don’t believe can be fixed. I hear he’s a great guy but he plays as selfish as any BYU player I can recall. Example: Crunch time vs. Saint Mary’s, Carlino misses two critical free throws and in frustration commits a senseless, selfish foul that puts Saint Mary’s at the free throw line. At that moment Matt is putting himself ahead of the team. How many Hail Mary shots have we seen out of Carlino trying to make the game about him? There is an absolute quality for guys who want to take the big shot and Matt Carlino has that. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the filter that good players have as to when and how to take said shot. As much as I loathe Saint Mary’s Dellavedova, he has this filter. He takes quality shots and typically doesn’t have more turnovers than points/assists in big games.
Scott: Matt will be the starting point guard at BYU until he leaves BYU. Despite being only a sophomore, there aren’t a lot of point guards in BYU’s history that have been as statistically good as Matt Carlino. The vast majority of the bad from Matt Carlino are due to his lack of experience. With the improvements he made from last year to this year, I’m excited to watch his growth from this year to the next two years.
Was Brandon Davies’ performance at Saint Mary’s an indication of a return to form or was it simply an aberration and we shouldn’t expect anything like that this week?
Carl: It shows us what he’s capable of when he doesn’t get in to foul trouble. It also shows us that he ‘got up’ for the game. He knew it was do or die time for the Cougars and he tried to be the guy. I don’t see that being the norm unless he truly feels BYU is playing for something more than pride.
Matt: Unfortunately, this fan is a bit on the pessimistic Brandon Davies bandwagon and I need to see more performances to believe he’s returned to form. His game last week was truly masterful, and it’s too bad it was wasted on the rest of the team that never got off the plane in Muraga, but he’s been so absent since his injury that I’m not convinced one game will do it. We sat here a few weeks ago lauding Matt Carlino after one great performance and I won’t get roped into it again.
Mike: I saw a couple things Davies-related vs. Saint Mary’s. First, Davies was a man. He’s developed a pretty creative inside game and seemed to bloom this week. I also think Haws and Carlino struggling fed Davies. I saw Gaels coach Randy Bennett leave Davies without double team even late in the game. Logic suggests his strategy was to continue to stop Haws and everything else hoping that BYU would fall into the same end of game rut we’ve seen this year with Davies finding foul trouble or Rose defying galactic reasoning by going away from Davies late. In either case Davies was a rock star when BYU needed him.
Scott: I think Davies has struggled at times this year, but I think a lot of it had to do with playing hurt. I don’t know whether or not we should expect the same performance against Gonzaga, but I think Davies will have a better game Thursday night than he did AT Gonzaga. I’m interested to see how motivated BYU is to win a semi-meaningless game. Win or lose, BYU will have to win the WCC Tourney to dance.
It appears Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s will be the only West Coast Conference teams going dancing in March barring a miracle run by BYU. It seems that BYU would be NIT-bound for the post season. Do you consider that to be a failure or is that okay by you? And just how many games do you see them winning in the NIT?
Carl: Not making it to March Madness is a failure for me. Too many winnable games gone by the wayside and the Dellavadagger killed the psyche of the team. Nevertheless, they are capable of beating great teams; we just haven’t seen that this season. They get Gonzaga this week. If they beat Gonzaga it won’t bump them back in the field of 68, but it will give them confidence going in to the WCC tournament that they are capable of beating the best in the league and that they can win the tournament and punch a ticket. As we’ve been saying all season, it’s a lot to ask of these Cougars, but it can be done.
Matt: I am not one of those entitled fans who feel their team always deserves the best reward, even if they really don’t. BYU is not, and does not deserve to be an NCAA tournament team this year. It’s great that Dave Rose got another 20-win season, but this team lacks consistency and passion, and most importantly, it lacks a leader. Brandon Davies should have been the leader, but he’s not shown even an inkling that he is capable. Tyler Haws has to bee feeling all the physical attention he’s been shown and he just needs to continue to improve his conditioning and physicality. And I’m not going near Matt Carlino right now. Bottom line is this team is an NIT team. And prepare yourselves Cougar fans, but this team will be lucky to advance much in the NIT as well. Not when teams from a loaded Big Ten get relegated there or even a North Carolina. If they draw well and get a home game or two, I see the Cougs winning as many home games as they can draw, but none beyond the comfy confines of the Marriott Center.
Mike: Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s are very good college teams. The Zags might be a Final Four team. The rest of the WCC is below average. For this reason BYU’s collapse is wildly disappointing. If BYU fell apart vs. a late season BIG 12 schedule, then so be it. Good teams do that. BYU collapsed late against San Francisco and San Diego who rank 154 and 174 in this year’s RPI. After the Saint Mary’s loss, I predicted a second round NIT loss which should add insult to injury for our poor ’12-’13 Cougs.
Scott: I honestly don’t know what to expect from BYU in the NIT, because they never seemed to show up in most of the challenging games they had, but I think they’ll win at least one. This season probably is a failure, but I’m OK with it – this year, at least. I feel like Dave Rose has built up enough “coaching capital” to let this one slide. Honestly, I think Noah Hartsock/Charles Abouo delayed the transitional post-Jimmer season. Last year wasn’t great either, but BYU was at least competitive most of the time. We got real young (in school level, not actual ages), real fast, and looking at future rosters (this is a great resource, by the way) we shouldn’t have too many of these seasons for awhile.