Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to improve a top-10 team

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.

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