DAYTON, OH - MARCH 13: Damarcus Harrison #24 of the Brigham Young Cougars reacts late in the second half while taking on the Iona Gaels in the first round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at UD Arena on March 13, 2012 in Dayton, Ohio. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Last night's win was incredible. It seems like BYU, basketball and football, is the team that can only play close or ahead, but can never work out of a hole. So the fact that BYU not only made a fantastic comeback, but that it was a record-setting comeback for all of college basketball, makes it so sublime. Regardless of what happens tomorrow against Marquette, the comeback win over Iona was one of the most unforgettable, singularly-awesome events for any BYU fan. Nothing will change that.
But for now, there are games to be played, and soon. Moving forward, both for tomorrow's game against Marquette and into the future, the comeback raised some major questions for me. And I apologize for the style of this post -- this really isn't a well-written essay with all the answers. I can't tie it up neatly for you. These are the questions I pondered this morning to which I have no answer, but feel are worth raising:
Matt Carlino, love the kid, has proven to be a terrible game manager -- one of the primary duties of the point guard. After sitting the bench for over 10 straight minutes in the second half, it seemed perhaps he finally saw what the point guard could do for BYU from Cusick's example. Charles Abouo has shown he will get sucked into Carlino's frantic style as well. Chuck played just 14 minutes last night and was 1-5 from the field.
Meanwhile, you have Craig Cusick, a kid who still isn't on scholarship (coming soon), and Damarcus Harrison, a true freshman who lost playing time due to inconsistent play, who came in and completely changed the game. Both played within themselves and got after it on defense. Does this earn them more minutes? Or starts? And if so, whose minutes go down? Winder? Abouo? Carlino?
IS CARLINO LEARNING?
This is closely related to the previous question. If you follow VTF on Twitter, you're likely sick of this discussion. But why is Carlino allowed to run-and-gun like Jimmer? Not only is he not a transcendent player like the Jimmer, but he's a 3/4-season freshman and Jimmer was a senior. I mocked Gonzaga for the stupidity of the "You're not Jimmer!" chant, but maybe that point could be driven home a bit more. Carlino is the shorter, whiter C.J. Miles of college basketball. He impacts the game 200 times more when he gets after it on defense, drives into the paint, and stops hoisting out-of-flow threes. But he still hasn't realized that. His prolonged benching was overdue.
So hopefully last night helped him realize that. Hopefully he learns more than the message of "my shots didn't fall, so I got yanked." The message HAS to be, and I hope coaches drove it into him, "Slow down. Manage the game. Let the big guys work. You saw what Cusick did." At times, Carlino looks like he's playing an exhibition game. That, or he thinks he has to do it all in order for BYU to score. Either way, the kid needs to slow his roll.
IS BYU A HALF-COURT TEAM?
We know that Dave Rose teams usually get out and run. But is this just a leftover remnant from Dave Rice? Or something more suited for different personnel? This is the first year with Dave Rose at the helm and no Dave Rice on the bench. Did it take 35 games for BYU to come to the realization that maybe -- just maybe -- it is better in slow, half-court sets, feeding every possession through Hartsock or Davies?
Maybe I'm wrong. But I certainly take last night's evidence that half-court, post-play-BYU is better than gunning, three-jacking-BYU much more seriously than evidence from wins over the likes of Pepperdine, Dixie State, and Buffalo. Maybe we subconsciously deny it because of the quirkiness of Hartsock's game. Maybe the thrill of the three makes us deny it. But the evidence was clear last night: You don't run as well as you think you do, BYU.
Not only that, but why the need to run and gun? Hartsock and Davies are phenomenal in the post. They really can't be stopped. And when opponents (even Marquette, who also starts two undersized forwards) start getting worked, they will double team, which leads to open shots for the guards. And you can't double-team both of them, either.
I hate to flip everything upside-down over just one game, but I can't think more seriously about this. Is this a half-court, throwback, post-feeding offense that has been made (either by coaching or bad, young guard play) to run all season? And what about next year with Davies (6-9), Nate Austin (6-10), and hopefully Chris Collinsworth (6-9)? Oh, and Ian Harward, the 6-10 freshman? All with Mark Pope to teach them?
Those are the questions that are stuck in my mind. What are your thoughts?