Saturday, January 29, 2011
My take is that Kevin Blackistone and everybody else who throws out comparisons to Adam Morrison forgets that Adam Morrison had a career-altering injury after his rookie season. In his rookie season, Morrison averaged nearly 12 points a game.
And those other scoring leaders that DIDN'T make it to the NBA? A lot of them came from schools you've likely never heard of, unless you are from the area. I think J.A. Adande says it best when he said you can't compare him to anyone, because predicting success at the next level is a bit of a crap-shoot anyway.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
What a game! The much-anticipated showdown between the ninth ranked Cougars and the Fourth ranked San Diego State Aztecs fully lived up to its lofty billing. Exceptional win for BYU and a reminder to fans everywhere why we love college basketball so much. After the excitement wore off, I had a couple realizations. Some good, some not so good.
The bad news first…BYU is a bad ankle sprain away from being a very average team. The Cougars continue to be a one-man show that’s so exciting it makes you lose track of the fact that one injury to Jimmer would derail the entire dream season. For that matter, one off night for the BYU guard would be enough to stop a NCAA tourney run dead in its tracks. Brandon Davies was BYU’s next highest scorer, but couldn’t remain out of foul trouble long enough to get into a rhythm that would force San Diego State to factor him into their defense. Had Jimmer not shown up huge last night, Cougar nation would be staring a big home loss on the calendar.
Now the good news…Jimmer Freddette has shown zero indication that he will do anything but show up huge in any big game situation imaginable. A cool 43 last night, and this after trailing off in the second half. How clutch is Jimmer? He has the attention of everyone in the sports world. He has called in on SportsCenter, done Five Good Minutes with Kornheiser and Wilbon, and celebrities are tweeting about him like crazy. Recently Sports Illustrated featured an article by Luke Winn devoted entirely to stopping this mad man. (I’m told that San Diego State University computers have access to si.com. So Aztecs, there’s really no excuse). And he drops 43, including clutch scoring to keep BYU close in the first half. He scored from outside, crossing over defenders mercilessly. He slashed to the lane and finished in double coverage. When he pulled up and shot that three (and anyone who watched the game knows which one I’m talking about) my face simultaneously exploded and then pieced itself back together again, fully functional. Watching him makes me giddy. Literally.
But still, it’s hard to watch BYU play and not be a little bit nervous about the single dimension to their team. The games have been so fun that it’s easy to burry this apprehension in the back of your mind like some outrageous interest rate on the loan you took out to buy your new Nissan Z.
But the apprehension remains. What if he comes down too awkwardly after one of those jaw-dropping cuts to the hoop? What happens if some goon gives him an elbow while fighting for a rebound? What happens if he goes ice cold in the first round of the tourney? Who will pick up the scoring slack for BYU? Thus far Jimmer has been so dominant that no other Cougar has found much of an offensive rhythm to the season, although all have been serviceable and even stellar in patches. But clutch with their NCAA tournament lives on the line? That’s a big time “gulp” in my book.
At least we have Jimmer. And March is a time when one phenomenal guard can take you the distance. Thus far, The Jimmer has only shown evidence that he’ll be ready to be called such. Perhaps phenomenal is a gross understatement.
Kevin Durant, after scoring 47 points himself, proclaimed Jimmer to be the best scorer in the world. John Wall and Nelly also chimed in. Also, here is what some notable members of the media happen to tweet about the game:
BYU hasn't really had an icon like in a long time - likely ever. Enjoy this season while it lasts, BYU fans. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event! More Tweets will be posted as I find them:
With the big game (SDSU at BYU) happening later tonight, three of the Cougaracity contributors (Nick, Aaron, and Scott) decided to issue some thoughts and prognostications about the game. Enjoy!
I’m not going to lie …I’m crazy nervous for BYU’s game with SDSU. It’s the first ever matchup between MWC teams that are ranked in the top 10. This game is being hyped up to the point that upper bowl bench tickets that usually sell anywhere from $1-5, are being sold for $40-60. I wish I would have been more prepared and bought some early on to turn that huge profit.
As nervous as I am for this game, I am just as much, if not more, confident in this team's ability to play. I swear time has slowed down since BYU beat CSU, game time is taking forever to get here. San Diego State is a very big athletic team that has yet to lose this year (and I’m not going to get into strength of schedule here) and will create some problems for BYU. An obvious key for BYU if they’re going to win is to stay out of foul trouble. The front court needs to play smart and limit their fouls. Because once they are in foul trouble, SDSU will be able to dominate inside.
Given the way BYU has been able to consistently put up more than 70+ points in every game, and the game is at the Marriott Center, I give BYU the edge. Cougars win 86-79.
The game is going to start out back and forth, the crowd will loud and crazy. SDSU will hit a lot of shots early in the game, and then the Cougars will go all Jimmer on the Tecs. The Cougs will just be too fast, too relentless for the SDSU boys and will pull away in the end.
Besides Jimmer's 30-35 pts, Jacks will add another 20 and Collinsworth will contribute another 15. The crowd will go straight up nuts and the Marriot Center will explode.
I recently watched a clip from the ESPNU show "The Experts," and one or two of these "experts" were saying BYU opponents need to blanket Jimmer to stop BYU. They felt as though BYU is a one-man train very capable of being derailed. These people, I would suppose, have not watched enough BYU games (much like the rest of the country. Curse you, MWC!). Jimmer is asked to do a lot, but he is surrounded by very capable teammates.
My gut tells me this is not a "Jimmer" night. Clearly, he will be the defensive focus for this very good SDSU team. However, SDSU has played a Fredette-ful BYU six times. They are well aware you cannot just "blanket" Jimmer to win the game. The fact is Jimmer usually comes up big in big games (ex. @Arizona 2009, Arizona 2010, @UNLV 2011, etc.). So I am going to say this is 30+ game for Jimmer.
But other players will obviously have to come up big. I think we'll see big things from Collinsworth, Rogers, and Emery. I don't know what he'll do, but I think we will come away surprised/impressed with what Brandon Davies does against SDSU's big men. 22,000+ roaring BYU fans and a fast-paced BYU team will be too much for SDSU, and I think BYU will shock the pundits with a double-digit victory: BYU 84, SDSU 72. Now, what will happen @SDSU is a completely different conversation...
Here are some Jimmer/BYU highlights to whet your appetite for tonight's game:
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
It is easy to give the answer of "yes," because we have been taught all of our lives that every worthy young man should serve a mission. So, by that token, the decision is not a decision all, because it has already been made for him.
Except for a little thing called "agency."
For me, the answer was easy. I went and did what was expected of me. It was a decision I had made years and years before acting on it. But there is a different set of circumstances surrounding Heaps' mission decision compared to my circumstances, and I don't think people understand the difficulty of Heaps' decision.
Those in a third-person perspective looking at it, say, "There's no question or decision about it. Just go!"
I would wager a small fortune none of those people were ever the #1 QB prospect in high school as a senior. They were likely not given the starting job at the most visible position on the BYU football team as a freshman - a dream come true for Heaps, I'm sure. The bottom line is they have no idea the sacrifice Heaps would be making.
Heaps has worked so hard throughout his entire life to one day be a QB in the NFL. Two years is an immense sacrifice for anyone, but for a QB, that's two years away from the game. Two years off a possible NFL career.
Saying "yes" to that decision is almost definitely saying "good-bye" to the possibility of being drafted in the first round. Teams like to draft younger QBs to groom them to be their quarterback.
People know BYU as a "QB Factory," but do you remember who the first returned missionary BYU QB to start in the NFL was? John Beck, a mere three years ago. A BYU QB not going on a mission is not a new topic.
Remember former #1 QB prospect Ben Olson? He served - and I give him ultimate props for doing so - and his college career did not turn out how he would have preferred. Not that it is because he served a mission, but if you were in Jake Heaps' position, wouldn't that scare you a tad?
The answer to the question of whether to serve is non-existent, because whether or not Jake Heaps should serve a mission is not even a question - at least not for me or you. It is a private decision between Heaps and the Lord. He is the one going. He is the one that needs to be committed.
Agency is one of the most sacred possessions we have as children of our Heavenly Father, so how dare anyone try to rob him of that?
I understand the thought that Jake Heaps should be an example to the younger kids in the church. However, I am from the Charles Barkley School of Philosophy. It is not Heaps' job to be a role model. Jake Heaps wants to play football, not raise your kids.
Why criticize him for not going on a mission? Why not appreciate him for the good kid he already is? Why try to fit him into a role he may not want to fulfill? There are plenty other people on the BYU football team or other teams willing to be that guy.
For example, here is a video on Utah basketball legend Tyler Haws.
After a very successful freshman season on the BYU basketball team, he chose to serve a mission. Tyler Haws' example screams "Here! Here's a role model!" Why waste time making someone else fit into a role that is already being fulfilled by guys like Tyler Haws?
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Having been so rarely ranked inside the top 10 in basketball, the hoops team has been a real treat to watch this year. If you haven't figured out by now, Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery are special talents; you really should make every effort to attend every BYU basketball game you can this year.
How can a top team improve? A couple of thoughts to watch as the season progresses.
First, it all begins with "D" - Davies, that is. With the news yesterday of Chris Collinsworth's microfracture knee surgery, Davies' role on the team becomes increasingly important. The most glaring problem for Davies is the tendency to pick up quick fouls that should never happen. This probably cuts Davies' effective minutes more than anything else.
Second, it continues with "D" - team defense. If BYU can continue to apply defensive pressure, teams shoot low percentage shots and other defensive indicators like steal % go up. Jackson Emery, of course, can make automatic offense with the steals and layups at the other end, and this will be killer for teams in the MWC that do not have as good of guards.
The emergence of another player will be important down the stretch. If Abouo wasn't struggling with injury and fatigue from playing all summer for the Ivory Coast, he would be the person of choice. He brings great defense and is one of BYU's better on-ball defenders. Of course, height is never a bad thing, and if Stephen Rogers can get his offense on track, his height and lankiness will be helpful against taller teams (SDSU) and should help in rebounding.
If BYU can improve these things, expect good things to come during the tournament.
Next week on Tuesday we will break down the Jan 26 match-up at the Marriott Center between BYU and SDSU.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
And in case you missed it, here are the highlights from the BYU-Utah game on Tuesday night:
Monday, January 10, 2011
ESPN named Jimmer Fredette the Player of the Week for his 39-point performance AT UNLV last week. Read the full article here.
This is obviously great news. This is kind of stuff we were hoping/planning to see when Jimmer announced he was returning for his senior year. Since he had yet to win at UNLV, an already big performance grew to enormous.
It was exciting to see the nation was paying attention, especially since the nation couldn't watch the game (on The Mtn.), and the news show exactly that. All of the polls for this week have been released, and there was a lot of movement for BYU.
BYU is now #2 in the RPI Rating.
BYU is now #10 in the Coaches Poll and #11 in the AP Poll.
And USA Today's Jeff Sagarin has BYU as #4 in his ratings.
And ESPN's Joe Lunardi has released his latest Bracketology, his estimation of where teams would/should be slated in the NCAA tourney if it was starting today. He has us slated as a #4 seed.
Considering the difficulty BYU has had winning tourney games, it will interesting to see what kind of seed we end up with. Obviously, if BYU keeps winning games, they will have a great seed. If they won the rest of their games, while a #1 seed is not IMpossible, I think a #2 seed is more likely in that scenario.
My gut tells me we won't win all of them. We'll likely lose at least one game, but I think we could still end up a #2 seed but likely a #3.
Either way, things look pretty good right now for the Cougars.
Sunday, January 9, 2011
I definitely do not claim to know how the RPI system works. I know of some of the factors considered that determine the formula, but I don't know how BYU is #1, when we are not undefeated, and other teams are (like Duke).
The RPI system is a rating system used to rank teams, so, while I do NOT understand it, I have no problem saying, "BYU is #1."
Have each of us been fans of BYU our entire lives? Yes.
Was each of our DNA tested and found to contain a component of cougar? Maybe.
Do we agree on everything that has to do with the teams or the future of the teams? Probably not.
We're excited to begin this blog, and we hope you'll follow the blog and read our posts. If you do, we'll issue this guarantee: The quality of posts will be better than the quality of coaching at BYU during the Crowton years.