I want to temper the things I say with a huge disclaimer. Nowhere in America does a coach have to deal with 2 year missions and an restrictive honor code. Nowhere do players take a 2 year hiatus then attempt to play at the highest level college BBall… BYU used to win league championships regularly, we haven’t even had a smell since we joined the WCC. The short answer is that Gonzaga was not part of the MWC. I looked at the rating for the MWC this year and the top rated team, BSU #73, then SDSU #81. The MWC has not been the same since Alford left for UCLA but in no way can it compare to the WCC with BYU at #54, SMC at #18 and GU at #9.
TO be the best, you have to beat the best. GU is on top, Few builds teams to play Big Boy ball, winning the WCC is secondary to his goals, he wants titles. He recruits components in the same manner that Popovich does for San Antonio, they just reload each year. That will never change as long as they are there. They force teams to react to their style. They are serious about defense. Rose will never beat a Few team consistently, it’s like showing up for a knife fight and Few has 2 knives to your 1.
Rose could emulate Bennett if he wanted. Bennett doesn’t get the athletes he wants but he sure gets every ounce out of his players. Rose would have to eliminate his up tempo style game but then that is as much his signature as Obamacare is to Obama. To sit tight and make every single possession count is Bennett’s signature and he takes slow white guys and runs it to perfection. Rose needs to take that SMC game and work the kinks out of SMC’s pick and roll because that is the foundation that every single team starts with when initiate their offense against MAN defense.
So let’s dive into SMC vs, BYU. Naar or Rahon would have their center come up and set a pic on Haws. That leaves Naar driving with Mika on him. Naar either fades back to lunch a 3 or pass to another 3 but either way, now you have Mika guarding a guard far far away from the basket. Launch it and SMC’s Bigs get the rebound, make it or drive and dish. We never solved it all night. When we went to a 1-3-1, SMC just passed the ball bringing more guards over to stack a side with more players than BYU could cover. easy open 3s and when a BYU Big ran out to bother an open 3, it was always too late and now there are more SMC bigs under the basket in case the ball misses the mark, either way, SMC dominated a better BYU team on the boards and on their 3s. Game- set -match.
In the Marriott, BYU can out duel SMC just because the road teams 3ball % goes down. But BYU has to change how we defend the pic and roll. If you run a Big out, you have to get him back under the basket, that means Haws has to be pasted to Naar so that Mika can settle back to defend the SMC Big and the rebound. That also means that Emery and Rose or Bry cannot be caught watching what the pic and roll is doing because if they even blink, their guy has slipped by for a back door or headed to an open spot for an easy 3. Gonzaga driving to the basket is code word for drive and dish to the open 3. Rose has never ever defended these basic offenses well. He has the pieces now so we will see.
He has a bye this year because his team is so young but if we see this same pattern next year, he has to go.