March 21, 2012

Now that BYU’s basketball season has concluded, let’s review the season with a few questions.  1) What was your favorite moment of the past season?  2)  Who was your team MVP?  3) Who are you going to miss next season and why?  4) Who will you be most excited to see next season and why?

Matt – 1) The Iona comeback was epic, but I think the raw electricity in the Marriott Center for the Gonzaga game after the debacle that was the Saint Mary’s game was exciting.  2) I’m going to cop out of this one and give it to both Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies.  Noah was probably the most consistent all season but when Davies focuses, he was near unstoppable.  3) Easily it will be Noah.  I couldn’t care less that Charles Abouo is graduating and leaving.  Noah stepped up in a huge way this season in terms of scoring and leadership to fill the Jimmer/Jackson void.  4) Again, Brandon Davies.  He played like a man possessed as the season came to a close and since he is coming back to prove he is legit, I think he will have an epic season.

Carl – 1) Everyone’s going to say the Iona comeback.  And honestly, I can’t think of a single better moment than that. 2) NOAH HARTSOCK! Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap NOAH HARTSOCK! Clap, clap, clap, clap, clap 3) I’m going to miss Noah, but I’m really going to miss Charles Abouo.  He may not have been the best player, but he always brought 100% energy to the court.  4)  Want to see how the new tandem of Carlino and Cusick mesh in running an already high-powered, up-tempo style.

Mark – Okay, someone can’t count.  This is like 5 questions in one.

1) Comeback win over Iona.  That is what March Madness is all about. 2) Noah Hartsock. 3) Noah Hartsock, because he was the team MVP, duh. 4) Tyler Haws.  The man is a free throw machine.  The line is a placed where this year’s BYU team went to die.

David – 1) Definitely the Iona comeback. I am still in shock that they were able to pull that off.  2) Hartsock was my MVP of the season. You could see a difference in play and in confidence of the team during those games that he was out with his knee. When he was healthy, he was the most consistent on the team in performance.  3) Hartsock is a big loss. He is a solid performer and his optimism and positive attitude were infectious. He was a great asset to the team. 4) I’m looking for Matt Carlino to really start showing what he’s got. He had some great games as a freshman and will only get better.

BYU basketball: did they meet, beat, or fail your expectations?

Matt – If I’m being honest with myself, I would have expected losses this season to Utah State, Wisconsin, Baylor, Virginia Tech, and probably Gonzaga.  I would have expected BYU to win at home in every West Coast Conference game and probably split Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga on the road (the loss coming in Spokane.)  Following that logic, BYU would have at least tied for the WCC regular season.  In hindsight, that was a bit over-eager for this team.  Based on that, I would say they under-achieved, but taking the season as a whole and who they really were, they exceeded my expectations in all aspects but one – I’d have really liked at least one win versus SMC this season.

Carl – They exceeded my expectations.  Thought for sure there would be a little let down.  But all they did was win 25+ games again and only fall one win short in March Madness of last year’s Jimmer team.  That’s overachieving.

Mark – At the beginning of the year, I said they were a 20 + win team, should vie for the WCC championship, and get an NCAA bid.  I would say they met my expectations.

David – The Cougars finished this season at about the level that I expected. I was hoping for a couple more wins during the regular season, but I thought all season long that they would go one or two rounds at the most in the tourney.

Speaking of the now-concluded basketball season, let’s make some prediction for next year’s team.  Predict the 1) overall record, 2) their record and ranking in the WCC, 3) top 25 ranking (if applicable), 4) wins in March Madness wins (if applicable), and 5) player MVP.

Matt – 1) Without knowing the entire schedule, I’ll just predict 25 wins.  2) A bold 15-1 in conference play (losing in Spokane to a solid Gonzaga team.) They will tie with GU for the regular season and win the WCC Championship in Vegas. 3) Final ranking will be just outside the top 25.  4) Two wins in the Big Dance.  5) This shouldn’t be a surprise – Brandon Davies will play like a beast all season.

Carl – 1) 30-6 2) 13-3 conference (Losses @Zaga, @SMC plus 1 more) 2nd place to Gonzaga 3) pre-march madness #21 4) 2 wins to Sweet 16 5) Brandon Davies

Mark – In the way too early to call file…. #1 in the WCC, top 20, they get to the round of 32.

David – BYU is returning 5 seniors next year, 3 of which will likely start on a regular basis. There is a major group of talent among next year’s sophomores. 1) I expect to see them with 3 regular season losses next year, 2 of those during conference play. 2) They will at least tie for the conference championship. 3) They will be ranked somewhere around 20. 4) They will be a Sweet-Sixteen team. 5) Brandon Davies and Brock Zylstra will step out as the team leaders, but Davies will be the one looked to as the key to the team’s success.

The West Coast Conference Commissioner’s Cup is awarded annually to the WCC school with the most success across all sports in the conference. As it stands, BYU is leading San Diego by 3.5 points and Saint Mary’s by 7 points in its first year as a member of the conference. There are still a few sports to finish out for the year with baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s tennis, and rowing. Is BYU going to be able to take the Commissioner’s Cup in its first year?

Matt – I don’t know much about this but BYU has a history of winning these overall challenges and just like they beat Utah for the Deseret Duel again this season, BYU will come away victorious in the Commissioner’s Cup.

Carl – I have no earthly idea!  Seriously, I think BYU is solid in most of those sports.  So I don’t foresee us losing a lot of ground to the other schools.

Mark – Considering football and basketball are the only sports that matter, I have no idea.  But I’ll say yes, just because.

David – BYU gets a leg up because San Diego and Saint Mary’s don’t compete in Women’s golf, but it evens out again because BYU doesn’t compete in rowing. (Could you imagine them trying to practice out on Utah Lake?) With everything else as a whole, the three schools look pretty evenly spread out in the current and preseason standings. If things play out the way they look they will, BYU will stay on top and receive the Commissioner’s Cup this year. This is a huge testament to the overall strength of BYU athletics and something the whole school should be proud of.

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