As I watch Brigham Young University and San Diego State University a couple of thoughts on how far I think each team will go in the tournament come to mind. BYU and SDSU haven’t quite impressed me as much as they have everyone else.  I mean no disrespect towards either team in my analysis, I just want to point out some weaknesses that I think will catch up to them come tourney time.

BYU:  From watching BYU against SDSU I noticed that they rely way too much on the 3 point game.  With 3 minutes left in the game they’ve already chucked up 22 three’s, granted they hit 14 of them at this point.  I know that’s their style of play and they know they can knock down three’s consistently.  What worries me about this is the obvious, all teams at some point have an off game and have a cold shooting night.  I’m not convinced yet that BYU and stick in a game with their post players.  I think if they got far enough in the tournament and went cold they would have trouble with any of the teams in the Big 12, Big East, or the Big Ten.  Another note about BYU’s 3 point game is that they take a lot of bad 3’s, especially Jimmer.  This can obviously hurt them against fast transition teams that like to run.  With long rebounds landing in their opponents hands a lot of fast break points could potentially be scored on them.

I know that playing tough, in your face, defense is tiring for 40 minutes.  But at times I noticed BYU taking breaks, not hustling back, and sometimes playing lackadaisical D.  For obvious reasons you know why this could be bad.  Especially after a missed 3 and a long rebound not getting back on D will kill you.

Even though I’m a Jimmer Fredette fan the kid needs to get the ball out of his hands.  He runs the point and sometimes forces his own shots, which aren’t necessarily good shots.  He’s an amazing player and can score at will it seems but I just think if he didn’t have to run the point and create so many of his own shots BYU would be better off.  To counter that point Jimmer has probably the best court vision in the Mountain West Conference.  In such a big game Fredette put up 25 points and 9 assists! Those are career highs for some guys in different games.  I won’t take anything way from Jimmer but if BYU had the option to set off the ball screens for him he might have a few more open looks.

SDSU:   I haven’t been caught up in the hype of San Diego State all year.  Yeah I find their 27-2 record to be extremely impressive but who have they really played?  I’ll get more into that point for both squads later.  Personally I thought SDSU was too reliant on Kawhi Leonard and D.J. Gay to score.  Last year Purdue proved that only two guys couldn’t get the job done (E’Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson).  Leonard only averages 15.2 ppg and Gay 12.1, and Malcolm Thomas adds another 11.6 a game.  That’s only 3 players averaging over 10 points a game.  If you add those point totals up between the 3 of them you get 38.9 points per game.  Not that many.  I’m almost positive for SDSU to get far in the tournament these three will have to pick up their point averages per game.  If they can do this and take advantage of the way they share the ball as a team (14 assists/game) I think SDSU may have a chance to show me and all their other nonbelievers up.

I was not impressed with San Diego State’s defense.  I realize they were playing Jimmer Fredette and the high scoring BYU Cougars but I think they could have played better defense.  Too many time Fredette would split two defenders and get himself a 3 point play opportunity.  There was apparently a lack of communication on the defensive end of the floor.  I’m not going to question SDSU’s effort or hustle, it was there, I just don’t think they executed their game plan and it cost them a game.  If they continue to lack communication they will suffer and be knocked out fairly early from the tournament.

BYU and SDSU:   I still question The Mountain West Conference’s toughness and strength of schedule.  Yes, most of the teams have good records but I’m not completely sold that they all play tough non-conference schedules.  For SDSU I only see two solid non-conference victories: Gonzaga, at the time ranked 12th and Wichita State.  Not all that great of a resume.  I just don’t feel as if SDSU deserves as much credit as they have. I would like to see how they would do in lets say the Big 12 or even the Big Ten.  From what I saw today SDSU would be and above average (just above .500) in either of those conferences.  As for BYU, they have what I call 6 solid victories (SDSUx2, UNLVx2, Arizona, and Utah State).  I think they have a more impressive resume but I would still like to see them matched up in either the Big 12 or Big East (I think BYU’s style of play fits a tad better here than in the Big Ten).  With how crazy the Big East this season I think it would be very interesting to see how they would finish.  But, to each teams credit they beat the teams they’re supposed to beat and I can respect that.

I’m really looking forward to see how each team does in the tournament.  I think BYU is very deserving of a 3 seed at the worst, possibly a 2 seed.  As for SDSU, I’m not as convinced and think they deserve a 5 seed.  With these seedings and no idea of what possible match-ups may arise I’m going to go on my gut feeling and make some predictions as to how far I think each team will go.  I think BYU has the better shot making it deep in the tournament. However, with the possibility of them having a cold shooting night I don’t think BYU make it to the Final Four.  I see BYU making it to the Elite 8.  SDSU, I can’t say enough how unimpressed with this squad I am.  Honestly I don’t think they’re that good and depending again on match-ups I think SDSU makes it to the Sweet 16 but wouldn’t be surprised if they do get that 5 seed and they’re the 12:5 seed upset game of the year.

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