Friday, December 31, 2010

BYU Still The Team to Beat in the Mountain West

Posted by CoHoops DeAnte Mitchell
The Mountain West conference could be looking at one of the best years in recent history.

The San Diego State Aztecs (14-0) has emerged on the national stage and is now touted as the No. 7 team in all of College Basketball.

Despite being upset by the UCLA Bruins, the No. 16 Brigham Young Cougars (13-1) have been very impressive with All-American Jimmer Fredette who pours in 24.9 points a game.

The New Mexico Lobos (11-2) has been the most impressive team knocking off teams such as Colorado, Arizona State, and Texas Tech.

The UNLV Rebels (12-2) have also been another very impressive Mountain West program.

UNLV won the 76 Classics in-season tournament, as well as picking up wins over Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, and Kansas State.

Last season, the regular season title belonged to New Mexico after defeating BYU head-to-head late in the season, while San Diego State came up victorious during the conference championship.

The last time BYU won a conference championship dates back to '07-08 when the Cougars won the regular season title with a conference record of (14-2). The last time the Cougars took the tournament championship home Mekeli Wesley, and Terrell Lyday were playing for BYU back in '00-01.

BYU's Jimmer Fredette has never won a Mountain West conference tournament title. This season, things could change tremendously.

Despite the re-emergence of San Diego State, the Mountain West conference powerhouse still remains BYU.

Jackson Emery, the 6-foot-3 senior guard, continues to help Fredette in the backcourt. Emery chips-in 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assist, which happens to be slight drop from his contributions last season.

Sophomore Brandon Davies saw his minutes increase and has taken advantage by chipping in career highs in points with 11.4 points, and 5.2 rebounds.

He continues to get better as the season progresses and averages 15.2 points, 6.7 rebounds in his last four games.

Mind you, Davies only see's the floor for 21.6 minutes per outing.

Collectively, as a team, BYU scores 83.2 points per game, which ranks 10th in the nation. The Cougars also get on the glass pulling down 40.7 rebounds.

The Cougars are my favorite to win the Mountain West because of their balance. BYU has the advantage over UNLV, San Diego State, and New Mexico on the glass.

Not to mention, the Cougars have a great rotation that features almost every premier player on their roster.

For BYU to come away with it's first conference regular season title in three years, and tournament championship in nearly a decade, it must overwhelm on the glass.

Fredette continues to be "Mr. Everything" and plays his part every game. Now it's time for others to step up and contribute consistently when it matters the most.

For more CoHoops news follow us on Twitter (@Collegiate_Hoop) or subscribe via email