Sunday, March 24, 2013

NIT Tourney Round #2 Preview: BYU vs Mercer

2 of Ty's 37 points against Washington
BYU basketball made it past the Washington Huskies last Tuesday and will host the Mercer Bears tomorrow night in the Marriott Center. Once again, I've got my ticket (row 7, blue seats), and I'm ready to kick some bear tail!

Mercer University is located in Macon, Georgia. They are 24-11 overall this year, with really only one notable win this season against Florida Gulf Coast, and the only reason that's notable is because Florida Gulf Coast just upset 2-seed Georgetown in the NCAA tourney. And Mercer didn't beat Florida Gulf Coast when it counted-- in the conference tournament. I haven't even heard of most of the other teams Mercer played this year (who in the world are Lipscomb and Stetson?) Anyway, I'm definitely not saying it will be easy, especially since Mercer is just coming off a win against Tennessee, but I think BYU has a definite shot. I'm also really hoping Louisiana Tech beats Southern Miss tomorrow, because then BYU would get another home game, most likely on Wednesday, if they defeat Mercer on Monday.

Overall, I was fairly impressed with the way BYU played against Washington, especially in the second half. But I had an unfortunate realization during this game-- we are only as good as Matt Carlino is currently playing. He had a horrible 1st half, and thankfully Coach Rose benched him before it got way out of hand. He got back in in the second half, and was much more productive-- had fewer turnovers, got some steals, and scored some points. After knocking down a few long three-balls (including 1 or 2 that could definitely be considered Jimmer Range), though, he began to get overly confident. Thankfully, he then shot an air ball, and even though he claimed it was deflected (I'm still not sure), I think it was a good humbling and brought him back down to earth.

Oh Matty, Matty, Matty . . .
When Matt has his head on straight, he's really good. But when he's off, he just spirals down and down further and further and brings the rest of the team down with him. And unfortunately, he seems to be off more often than he's on. If Matt had continued to play the way he did in the first half in the second half against Washington, I think BYU would have lost-- despite the amazing 37-point performance from Tyler. Matty, please, please, please don't ruin this tournament for us!! And get a haircut while you're at it (but DON'T shave your head again!).

Coach Rose needs to get some discipline in that kid. Am I the only one who's noticed that Matt plays A LOT better after he's been benched for bad behavior? Honestly, I think we'd have the greatest shot of winning tomorrow if Coach Rose didn't put Matt on the starting lineup, or if he benched him immediately after his first stupid turnover (which will most likely come within the first 30 seconds of the game). Matt plays a lot better when he feels like he's got something to prove. When he feels like he has to earn his role on the court (instead of already having it guaranteed), he plays so much better and with his head on straight. I doubt that's going to happen though, so we might just have to get lucky like we did last week. Ok, enough of my Carlino soapbox. I just really hope he doesn't blow it for us.

Cross your fingers, Cougar fans. Let's keep this NIT party started and take down Mercer!

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