Did anyone read the article? I thought it was interesting… there were supposed to be some “untold stories” but a lot of it was stuff that people already knew, just repeated reminders of how things went for the Cougars in the WCC over the past 12 years. One thing I was never quite clear on was what exactly the Jimmer effect was? It’s the title of the article yet it never really points out the specifics. I believe there is the insinuation that BYU becoming a member of the WCC forced the hand of the other members of the conference to get better. I think that is a weak explanation for what came after, not a definitive reason for what really happened.
I have a theory, one that I have proposed and postulated for over a decade now here on this board. I think many of you will know what it is I am referring to. Allow me to explain myself.
The year before the Cougars joined the WCC, they played both St. Mary’s and Gonzaga who were (and still are) the two dominant programs in the WCC. They beat St. Mary’s by a point in a relatively meaningless early season tournament game. No big deal. What was a big deal is how Jimmer and the Cougars completely dismantled Gonzaga in the NCAA tournament, a much bigger deal that would have long lasting effects for the next decade plus. My beliefs and ideas are well known here on this board. They are backed up with plenty of evidence and proof that they are real. Gonzaga and, to a lesser extent, St. Mary’s are the face of the WCC. I have often referred to Gonzaga as the darlings of the WCC. They are the team that has really put the conference on the map. They have been very successful for quite some time. St. Mary’s has been really good as well, but they are not the level of program that Gonzaga is. This success and notoriety has often come at the expence of BYU. I am absolutely sure that BYU has had several teams that were as good or better than many of the Gonzaga/St. Mary’s teams over the past 12 years. They have proven it in games they have won during the regular seasons. They have had nationally ranked high level players post Jimmer. There were very few reasons why they should not have won the conference or conference tournament at least once during their time in the WCC. The odds, the quality of teams, etc. all point to rational, logical reasons for why they should have been champions at least once. However, it NEVER happened. Here is why -
Gonzaga is the darling of the WCC. They have been the beneficiary of multiple biased officiated games over the years. This year is a great example of how they were very mediocre, yet still won the conference. Yes, they lost a couple games but those were anomalies, games where they played so badly that the officiating was no help. They have a coach who is so respected that it will account for anywhere from 5-10 points in a game just because of who he is. Both coaches (GU and SMC) have said that BYU coming into the league made them work harder to be better. That may be true, it might not be. I do know it made them play harder and work the officials more than they probably ever thought they had to. That leads me to the most important x-factor and that is the officiating. I don’t think I have ever seen a team that so consistently gets the most biased officials overall that BYU has had. There are several who are well known haters. Many others don’t realize it but have suffered from the same inability to call an objective, fair game when officiating BYU teams. That is really the unfortunate fact of what I am speaking of. No team has had to consistently battle 5 vs. 8 like BYU has.
Having said that, do I think BYU was good enough to win the conference every year? No, I don’t… but they did finish second or third almost every year and it was the conference tournament where the most egregious bias typically showed itself as they never really came close to winning it. They made it to the championship game 4 times and lost by at least 10 points every time. Only St. Mary’s has beaten Gonzaga and they did it twice during BYU’s years in the WCC. How? unbiased officiating as a result of BYU not being in the final. There are astute and knowledgeable fans who will understand what I am referring to and there will be others who don’t have the knowledge or ability to see or understand it. I am okay with that. What I am not okay with is the historically biased officiating that helped create much of what took place over the past 12 years, its a shame.
Good luck to the Santa Clara’s, LMU’s and Pepperdine’s of the WCC. The likelihood of you winning a WCC title or tournament will increase somewhat going forward. Now that the officials or conference don’t have to focus their attention so much on making sure BYU doesn’t win, you might be able to slip under the radar.