Thursday, December 16, 2010

BYU Cougars Lurking In The Shadows

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
Despite owning a (10-0) record, for the second time in three years, against a formidable schedule, the No. 18 ranked BYU Cougars are having a tough time convincing the nation that it belongs in the National Championship discussion.

The Cougars have wins over Saint Mary's, South Florida, and a blowout of Arizona.

BYU has also struggled at Utah State, and could have easily lost to Saint Mary's if Jimmer Fredette's three-point attempt didn't find the basket with 10 seconds left in the game.

The Cougars embrace one of the most explosive guards in the country. Fredette averages 23.7 points, 4.1 assist, and 3.2 rebounds in 32.4 minutes of action.

Jackson Emery has become a great threat alongside Fredette. He is the second-leading scorer with 11.4 points, while chipping in 3.8 rebounds, and 2.9 steals per game.

The Cougars sucess has steamed from more than just good guard play. BYU is one of the most efficient teams in college basketball. The Cougars have turned the ball over an average of 10.1 times over their first ten games, which is the least for any team throughout the first ten outings.

The Cougars are also very active on the defense end coming away with 9.6 steals per game.

BYU is one of the most balanced teams in the nation. Despite Fredette's cushion in the scoring column, the Cougars are very balanced on the glass. Every player crashes the glass, pulling down 41.7 rebounds per game, which ranks 18th in the nation.

The Cougars seem to be one of the more clutch teams in the nation. BYU plays well with their back against the wall. But, the Cougars could certainly benefit from more marquee wins down the stretch, beginning Saturday against UCLA, a very physical ball club with a great on-ball defender in Tyler Honeycutt.

BYU's tune-up games are in the rear view mirror now as conference season slowly approaches. The Mountain West conference is going to be tough to win. There are three ranked teams in the Mountain West conference including No. 10 San Diego State.

If the Cougars are able to come away with the conference title, it should be in the talks.

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