Date: Mar 20, 2014.
Time: Approx. 12:10 p.m. PST
#7 Oregon Ducks vs. #10 Brigham Young Cougars
And here we are. Three months ago, I was going out on a limb to say BYU vs. Oregon was a must-win for the Cougars. It’s funny-coincidental how that all worked out, because when BYU meets Oregon again on Thursday, survive and advance is truly the name of the game. Will we get another OT thriller in the triple digits? Most likely not, but the Collinsworth-less Cougars are ready to throw down. Coach Dave Rose took to the podium on Wednesday and let all the haters (here’s lookin’ at you, Digger Phelps, Doug Gottlieb, and Jay Williams) know how his team feels.
Dave Rose, responding to any doubters re: BYU’s NCAA tourney worthiness: “These guys deserve to be here.”
— Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) March 19, 2014
Rose re: doubters: “If you had spent five months with our team, you’d have a whole different interpretation or feeling about our team…” — Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) March 19, 2014
Why are we getting BYU vs. Oregon part deux?
The committee loves to use the “BYU can’t play on Sunday and therefore is hard to seed” excuse. We’ll go with that, because it’s probably mostly true. I prefer the rematch rather than bumping BYU down a seed or two. On second thought, I wouldn’t have minded sliding down to the 13 seed in the region in order to get a shot at San Diego State.
What will be different in the sequel?
BYU – Kyle Collinsworth. I could probably drop the microphone at that point. All things considered, the Cougars will replace KC’s minutes with a healthy dose of Anson Winder. Winder, a mainstay in the line up at season’s end, played one minute in the first installment of this series. Frank Bartley and Skyler Halford combined to play 34 minutes in that game. Luke Worthington got a DNP. My, how things have changed!
Who takes KC’s spot as a starter? Rose confirmed it will be Matt Carlino.
Who picks up the rebounding slack? Mika, Austin, Worthington and Sharp need to play big and play strong. Winder’s perimeter defense should help the big guys stay on the floor and out of foul trouble.
Who attacks the basket? Winder can get there. He’s not as forceful as KC, but he’s sneaky good at it. Bartley IV, if he gets minutes, could as well. On the flip, if Carlino and Halford try to force the issue by driving too much, this area may be a detriment.
Who’s the third man down low on the 2-3 zone? Go with a 3-2, Coach Dave! Just go with the 3-2! Seriously, though. Unless Coach Rose goes with Sharp at the 3, there is nobody that will be able to pick off the weak side boards like Kyle. The good news is that Oregon isn’t especially tall. The bad news is that they’re athletic. The Cougars can ill-afford to give up multiple chances to the Ducks. The big men will need to come up huge, and it’d help if Carlino grabs 11 boards like last time.
Oregon – Dominic Artis and Ben Carter had barely returned from their suspension when part one took place. Since then, Oregon’s established a solid, consistent rotation. In fact, it’s likely that the Ducks roll with the same starting five in part two on Thursday. That stands in stark contrast to their opponent, who has shuffled the rotation with regularity.
Chances are good that Jason Calliste will not have another career outing against BYU. Chances are also good that Oregon will do better than 31 percent from deep. The Ducks are 39% from outside the arc this season. Even if Calliste can’t get it going this time, it’s possible that Mike Moser could. Or Johnathan Loyd will actually make a shot this time. My gut feeling says that Damyean Dotson becomes the x-factor in this one, breaking out of his late season funk.
Players that gotta play
Eric Mika (BYU) – The Cougars have a capable point guard to take over for Collinsworth, but they’ll need somebody else to pose another threat to the Ducks’ defensive spacing. Carlino will be set up outside, with Haws in the mid-range. Mika needs low post touches and conversions so that the inside-out game between those three players is most effective.
Mike Moser (Oregon) – Nobody else averages more than 3.9 rebounds a game. Somebody will have to keep Nate Austin off the boards, and it’s possible that Cook or Amardi will help. But the burden of controlling the glass rests upon the star transfer. If there’s anybody to negate BYU’s size advantage, it’s Moser. The Cougars have shown a willingness to grind it out as of late. If it comes to that, Moser will need to come up big on both sides of the floor.
It’s March Madness! Who knows!
I will say this, though… Because that’s a cop out. And bloggers don’t use cop outs. At least good ones don’t. Good ones use “headline porn”, cool GIFs, and talking points that go against the flow of public opinion. And by good ones I mean the ones with the most traffic. “Good” is a fluid term. I digress…
I will say this, though. I believe in BYU without Kyle Collinsworth. Nobody is giving this team a chance to win. Even Joe Lunardi’s BYU preview is 1:09 of wasted time for any Cougar fan. And somebody’s still going to click the ironic outbound link.
Listen, the boys in blue have nothing to lose and something to play for. That’s what makes them so dangerous. And this 43 seconds of euphoria. These guys are jacked up to be here.
I expect a barnburner. BYU’s size advantage still exists without Collinsworth. Oregon still possesses an overall athletic advantage. It’s about time Haws went off from the field again. I’m torn. I want to go out on that limb and give BYU the win here, but KC’s a human swiss army knife that will be hard to replace. But I do believe in Anson Winder and Frank Bartley. And I do believe the prognosticators are wrong to pass this off as an easy win by the Ducks.
I’ll just grit my teeth and type something.
P.S. Kyle Collinsworth is a good dude.
No room or time for negative comments or thoughts #teampositive
— Kyle Collinsworth (@bigrussia5) March 13, 2014