Friday, February 15, 2013

A Disappointing Slump in the BYU Basketball Season

BYU vs San Francisco
I'll be blunt-- the last 2 BYU basketball games have sucked. Just when we thought it couldn't get any worse after losing to San Diego . . . it got worse with another loss to San Francisco. But all is not lost. We still have a chance to finish out the season on a high note. It may not be the high note the players and fans were hoping for, but a high note, nonetheless.

Here are my conclusions:

1. BYU is going to the NIT post-season tourney. I've head a bunch of BYU commentators play the what-if game this week, saying "Well, if BYU wins the conference tournament . . ." and "Well, if BYU beats St. Mary's on the road AND Gonzaga at home, AND at least makes it to the championship game of the WCC tournament . . ." Ok, guys, let's be real. That's not gonna happen. I love my basketball boys, and yes, they have the talent, and yes, they have the skills, but they just aren't consistent. There is no way they can pull together enough consistency to beat St. Mary's twice and Gonzaga once, let alone twice. It's just not going to happen. Honestly, I'll be surprised if they can pull off one of those three or four games. So, let's just make the best of it, and get excited for the NIT. It's not the end of the world. In fact, that might even give us a few more home games to enjoy, after quite likely suffering defeat to Gonzaga in the final home game of the regular season. I'd LOVE to come back and win a few more at home in the post-season, so let's do it!

I really like this article by Ryan Teeples of The Deseret News, which says, in part:
The sky is not falling.

Well, maybe the clear blue has already tumbled in terms of NCAA tournament chances for the 2013 Cougars.

But these struggles are likely little more than a brief blip. Just a bump in the road, and one not unique to Provo. When you put it all in context, BYU is hitting a lull that’s not uncommon, not surprising and certainly not worth melting down over . . .

Just eight teams in America have a longer NCAA Tournament appearance streak than BYU. The Cougars have six straight trips to the Big Dance under their belt. Sure, fans want to see the team there perennially. But the fact is, very few teams make double-digit straight appearances. Those teams are called Duke and Kansas.

Sure, Gonzaga has 14 straight, but they are the major exception. Kentucky, Ohio State, UCLA, UCONN have all missed the dance at least once in the last five years, yet BYU has not.
2. It really could be worse. We're lucky to have made it to the tournament so many years in a row, and while it is a disappointment to not make it this year, it's ok. They'll learn from it and come back next year (with the exception of Brandon, Brock, and Craig, unfortunately) with a clear goal in sight.

3. Tyler Haws is crucial to this team. How many more games would we have lost without Tyler? I'd be willing to wager that "several" is a good answer. Without him, we might have an empty post-season.

4. Matt Carlino and Anson Winder need to do some SERIOUS mental training in the off-season. I'm willing to give Anson a break because he was injured at the beginning of the season and has had a hard time coming out of it, but he almost blew the entire Pepperdine game for us with a stupid last-second foul on a 3-pointer, and he's made a few more really, really dumb mistakes over the season. He's a good defender, but we need him to defend cleanly. And Matty is still Matty. I'm sorry, but I think he needs a little kick in the pants, maybe even from Coach Rose. I'm pretty sure I could have better ball security than that guy. Yes, he can score, but he needs to STOP PANICKING! He gets frantic way too easily and throws the ball to the wrong team or out of bounds or whatever, and it has cost us games in the long run. They are both really talented-- I think it's just a mental block that is getting in their way. They need to get rid of that in the off-season. Shake it off, boys!!!

5. BYU doesn't fit well in the WCC. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I miss the MWC. I'm tired of BYU playing in high school gyms and all of their games being either miracle wins or horrible losses. There needs to be some in-between. They really aren't evenly matched with any of the teams in this league (with the possible exception of St. Mary's), and it's getting old. They need some more evenly-matched competitors who play in arenas similar in size to the MC to really have any chance of standing out in the national perspective.

Even though this season isn't turning out as hoped, it's not over yet. Don't throw in the towel, and all you stupid people who are calling for Dave Rose to get fired, get a grip! He's the best coach the BYU basketball team has had in a loooong time, so just shut your traps and let him do his job. It's not his fault at all. Even the greatest programs in the country hit a lull once in awhile, and it's okay. We will fight, day or night, rain or snow! Go Cougars! Let's finish out this season on a strong note . . . and, who knows, maybe an NIT championship! :)

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