I’m a sports fan. I’m also a BYU fan, and an optimistic one at that. I’m just not delusional to the point of needing medication or therapy. Being a sports fan means I acknowledge that not every call that goes against my team was a bad one, and that sometimes – just sometimes – my team isn’t the best one in the country (or conference, or even on the field/court that day).
As usual I attended the BYU basketball game in Provo last night against Loyola Marymount. As good as the game was, and as much fun as it was to see all 13 players get on the court and 12 of the 13 score, that’s not what is on my mind today.
On the way home we listened to KSL Radio’s post-game show. Over the years I’ve become accustomed to Greg Wrubell and Mark Lyons’ particular brand of broadcasting. In my mind they’re very over-the-top in their cheering for, and support of, BYU teams. And that’s OK – it’s their jobs. I’m not saying they shouldn’t be that way. I’m saying they should at least keep their enthusiasm in the realm of reality.
Last night after a 41 point win over a now 7-7 team Greg and Mark were so excited about the blowout win that at one point Mark Lyons made the comment that those who want to just hand Gonzaga the WCC trophy right now had better think twice.
I understand being excited about winning your first conference game of the year by blowing out the team that beat you at home last year by double digits…but let’s not get carried away. I know BYU just came off of a very impressive win right on the heels of another impressive win last Saturday against Virginia Tech up at Energy Solutions Arena. That doesn’t mean BYU can suddenly run through the conference and overtake Gonzaga.
BYU has 4 losses – all by 10 or more points. The “best” loss was against a Notre Dame team that’s currently ranked 19th in the country at a neutral site. Against Iowa State every team in the country was shown how to beat us: shut down Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies and hope no one else can step up.
On the other hand, Gonzaga only has 1 loss by single digits to a very good Illinois team currently ranked 11th.
BYU is averaging 79 points, 41.7 rebounds, and 17.1 assists per game. Gonzaga is averaging 80.7 points, 38 rebounds, and 15.9 assists. Those are very close. What’s not close is shooting percentage. BYU is currently 97th in the country with a 45.4% shooting percentage. Gonzaga is 3rd in the country at 51.3%. If you don’t think that is that big a difference between 45% and 51% shooting – think again.
Gonzaga isn’t ranked 10th in the country for nothing. If BYU can beat St. Mary’s (in Provo) and Gonzaga (on the road) in January then I’ll let the optimistic side of me come out and I’ll probably be writing things about how we can’t be stopped, Tyler Haws is the second coming of Jimmer, and we’re on our way to the sweet sixteen. Until then, I’ll keep my feet firmly planted in reality…right up until football season.