Thursday, March 28, 2013

We're Heading to NYC for the NIT FINAL FOUR, BABY!!!

Wish I was headed to New York again next week!
I was very pleasantly surprised by how well the BYU basketball team played against Southern Miss last night. Brock, Matt, Brandon, and, of course, Tyler were all knocking down shots fairly consistently. They were playing smart defense for the most part and kept their heads in the game, which has been a rarity this season. Brandon and Brock both got double-doubles, with Matty finishing just one assist shy of that mark.

Matt Carlino said
, "I think we're playing our best basketball of the season right now." I think he's right.

The most impressive things about this win are that it wasn't a home game, it was a super fast turnaround, and they had to travel 1,700 miles to get to Hattiesburg. They must have been super worn-out and exhausted, both physically and mentally. But somehow the Cougars put that all behind them and managed to snap Southern Miss' 30-game non-conference home win streak and make it look like a piece of cake. They are FINALLY coming into the potential they had all along and proving the nay-sayers wrong. I don't freaking care if it's the NIT-- we're in the FINAL FOUR! And that beats losing in the first round of the NCAA tourney any. day. of. the. year. BYU proved they CAN win outside the Marriott Center, they CAN beat good teams, and they CAN do it with style.

Even if BYU had lost last night, I would have been satisfied. But now all my wildest expectations have been fulfilled, and it can only get better from here, right?

Matty sinks a long 3 against
Baylor in Provo on 12-17-11
Next up, we're heading to the Big Apple to play Baylor. It seems like everyone is saying it's not a good matchup and it's a shame we have to play someone we already played this year (and lost to). But here's how I see it-- it's a huge opportunity to show that BYU has improved. It's definitely not the same team that lost to Baylor back in December. They have a new drive, a new force behind their play that, at least so far in the NIT, can't be reckoned with. I'm actually glad we're playing Baylor. I watched part of the Robert Morris / Providence game, and honestly, Providence scared the crap out of me. They looked really good, and like the sort of team that could potentially ground the Cougars into dust. I think we've got a better chance against Baylor anyway. It's time to get some revenge! We already beat the Mercer Bears, so I don't know why we can't beat the Baylor Bears, too! :)

A few more reasons I think we'll do well against Baylor:
  • In December against Baylor, Brandon Davies scored 26 points and had 17 rebounds. If he can stay out of foul trouble, I think the Bears will have a really hard time stopping him.
  • Tyler Haws only (yes, only) had 13 points in his last meeting with Baylor. He has only scored less than 13 two times since then. I think Tyler could definitely come out and score at least twice that, making BYU an even harder team to get past. 
  • Matt Carlino is eating his Wheaties. He's still making some dumb turnovers and is a little overly cocky, but it has at least died down a little bit in the post-season. And let's not forget that Matty's very first game as a Cougar was against Baylor, and he lit up 18 points, tying Brandon for the game's leading Cougar scorer. And that was when Baylor had Perry Jones III on their side and was ranked #6 in the country. They're not nearly as good this year.

Will we beat Baylor? I don't know. I sure hope so, and especially after last night's game, I think we've got a pretty dang good shot. But I said it last time, and I'll say it again, even if BYU loses, it's been a great ending to a mediocre season. Way to go, Cougars!

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