USA TODAY Sports
By the Mouth of Two or Three...
It should not be any surprise that BYU lost to Gonzaga in Spokane. Nearly everyone loses to the Zags at the McCarthey Center. What was frustrating about the defeat was the reality that BYU is far from competing with a squad the caliber of GU. The talent disparity was apparent and Gonzaga has just two seniors who truly contribute. Olynyk, Pangos, and Bell will be back next season. The Bulldogs are only going to get better.
Enough about the future, let's talk about the present. BYU has a terrific scorer in Tyler Haws and a big man who can, at times, be a difference-making talent in Brandon Davies. The problem the Cougars have faced all season is the lack of a third option. Matt Carlino and Brock Zyltra's point totals are down, DeMarcus Harrison is playing for Clemson, and Chris Collinsworth's career was halted due to injury. And the new faces on the roster just haven't work out as envisioned. Not yet, at least. Not a much has fallen into place offensively for the Cougs.
This causes BYU trouble when it faces opponents with equal or better talent on the floor. Defenses scheme in a way that hounds Haws and smothers Davies in the post with the double team. And given the inconsistent officiating that is par for the course in the WCC, the Cougars are left without a remedy. This also illustrates why BYU was so terrific during the 2010-2011 season. Sure, Jimmer Fredette was the Naismith Player of the Year. But when defenses sold out to stop him, Dave Rose could turn to Jackson Emery, Brandon Davies, and Noah Hartsock to fill the void. That kind of accommodation is just not available right now.
Suffice it to say, BYU is right where it should be with the type of talent it has on the roster, and maybe a little better. Dave Rose gets the most out of his team. Of the final 10 games of the regular season, BYU should be favored in all but two of them. And, when the West Coast Conference Tournament rolls around, anything can happen in such a forum. I'm excited to see what Y has in store for the final stretch. Here's to hoping that third witness will arise.