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BYU Can Kiss No. 1 Seed Goodbye

Jessica Benson |
March 3, 2011 | 6:32 p.m. PST

Staff Writer

BYU fans can kiss their hopes of a No. 1 seed goodbye. (Creative Commons/woody6woody)
BYU fans can kiss their hopes of a No. 1 seed goodbye. (Creative Commons/woody6woody)
With Selection Sunday less than two weeks away, it’s crunch time for the nation’s hottest college basketball teams.

Unfortunately for the Cougars of Brigham Young University, a run at a No. 1 seed likely vaporized with an 18-point loss to the University of New Mexico Lobos Wednesday night.

The devastating loss directly follows the school’s announcement that starting forward Brandon Davies will not be returning to the team following a violation of the school’s honor code.  Davies was one of star player Jimmer Fredette’s favorite targets underneath the basket. If the New Mexico game is any indication, losing him will be a crushing blow for BYU.

While many are questioning the fairness of Davies’ dismissal, it is refreshing to see a school actually enforce its own rules.  In an era of college sports where it seems more rules are broken than observed, BYU's decision to abide by its well-known honor code is admirable.

“Obviously the entire school is depressed and upset because in terms of the upcoming tournament, we are now a completely different team,” said BYU student and avid fan, Joey Ashcroft. “That being said, Davies did the right thing by stepping forward.  As a member of the church he is planning on going on his mission, so his truthfulness was essential.  Deep down everyone knows he did the right thing.”

Respectability aside, losing Davies will have consequences for BYU basketball. This decision has changed their upcoming path through March Madness.

In last night's game with New Mexico, they were never able to gain momentum after the Lobos got off to a 10-2 start. Fredette managed to rack up 33 points in the game, but he alone could not help BYU recover.

The Cougars’ biggest weakness was rebounding.  Prior to his departure, Davies was the team's leading rebounder, with an average of 6.2 boards per game. Without Davies under the basket, the Cougars were outrebounded 45-29, which contributed to the overwhelming lead New Mexico maintained throughout the game.

Before losing Davies, the Cougars were on their way to proving they deserved a No. 1 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament.  They had all but stolen a coveted top spot from powerhouse teams Texas and Pitt.

However, this suspension and the loss to the Lobos has halted BYU’s momentum and could definitely be seen as a negative contributing factor in the Cougars quest for a top seed.

“The committee will definitely take a hard look at this and evaluate whether this is now the same BYU team that beat San Diego State twice,” said former NCAA Tournament committee member Karl Benson.

[Editor’s note: Karl Benson is the father of the author of this piece, Jessica Benson.]

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the same team that blew past San Diego State twice this season. The starting lineup that helped BYU reach 27 wins has been breached, and with that a No. 1 seed seems unlikely.

The Cougars have never been able to exceed a No. 4 seed in past tournaments.  The question now is will they even reach that No 4 spot?

BYU plays the University of Wyoming this Saturday in their final regular season game before competing in the Mountain West Conference tournament, which begins March 8. 

Now is the time for the Cougars to prove they are still the team to beat on the challenging road to Houston.

To reach Jessica Benson, click here.



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