Monday, March 18, 2013

BYU Basketball Heads to the NIT

Brandon and the rest of the boys are bringing
their skills (including Kung Fu, by the looks
of this picture) back to the Marriott Center!
Maybe I'm just naive, but I don't understand why everyone is boo-hooing about how embarrassing it is that BYU is going to the NIT Tournament. I'm stoked! What's the great allure of the NCAA anyway? If BYU had made it to the NCAA tourney, they would just get their trash kicked by a #1 or #2 seed in the first round . . . what's so great about that? I don't understand why bubble teams fight so hard to get in to the NCAA-- I think getting creamed in a play-in game or in the first round is much more embarrassing than going to the NIT. I'd much rather go to the NIT tournament because the odds are a lot higher that they can actually win a few more games. Will BYU win the NIT tournament? Probably not, but they've got a decent chance of at least making the Elite 8, especially with the home crowd at the Marriott Center behind them. I'm actually really pumped about it.

First up, we've got Washington on Tuesday night. I've already got my ticket-- in the comfy blue seats, 6 rows behind the Washington Bench, the perfect location for heckling and relaxing as I revel in how wonderful it is to not be stuck in the ROC. I hope I never have to sit there again . . . Anyway, Washington is a member of the PAC-12 and they made it to the Final Four of the NIT last year. They've gone 18-15 this year, which sounds pretty bad, but they have a few notable wins, including St. Louis (who just got a 4-seed in the NCAA), Cal, and Colorado.

Greg Wrubell has been throwing out Washington facts / stats in Tweets almost constantly since last night. A few of the ones that caught my eye:
  • UW has had an interesting season. Opened 4-4, then won 8 of 9, then lost 7 of 8, then finished winning 5 of 8 (L's to Ariz, UCLA, Oregon). UW has more TOs than assists in 4 of its last 5 games and 17 times in 33 games. More assists than TOs only 8 times all season.
  • Washington guards/wings have gone 17-for-36 (47%) from the arc over their last two games.
  • BYU averages 71.3 possessions per game. Washington has had only 4 regulation games with more than 71 possessions (3-1 in those games).
  • In its last 11 games, Washington has scored fewer than 70 points eight times. BYU has also slumped: under 70 seven times in last 14 games
  • BYU averages almost 77 points per game. Washington last scored more than 72 points in regulation back on February 2nd (96-92 win v. ASU)
  • BYU plays fast, doesn't turn it over a lot. Washington plays slow, turns it over quite a bit more. Huskies have played 0 games at altitude.
  • U-Dub starts 6'9", 255 and 7'0", 260 up front. One of the country's best teams on the offensive glass. Huskies w/ excellent def 3PFGA/FGA %.
  • Neither BYU nor Washington rely much on the three or shoot it very well. BYU is offensively more efficient, better eFG%, better TO%.

I think BYU's two main downfalls are poor three-point shooting and dumb decisions from Matt Carlino. I'm relieved to find out that U-Dub struggles with turnovers, too and doesn't shoot a ton of 3s. If we can keep Matty under control, play fast, and not throw up wild treys in desperation like we have a few times this year, plus play a FULL 40 minutes (I hope Tyler's healthy again!), I think we've got it in the bag.

The first thing I think of when I hear about U-Dub is the 2008 BYU / Washington football game, when BYU snuck away with a 1-point win. I hope the basketball game tomorrow isn't nearly that close, but I hope even more for a Cougar win! I'm cautiously optimistic that the Cougs can go on a run in the NIT and make the most of a disappointing season by ending it on a high note.

If you don't have tickets yet for tomorrow's game, get them now! It's a great deal at only $10, even for good lower-bowl seats. Let's pack the house and help the Cougars win!

1 comment:

  1. I'm excited! More basketball is a good thing.

    I hope the team is re-energized and ready to make a nice post-season run.