Last night 5-6 Stanford beat #4 Arizona. Why?
Stanford was at home, and Stanford shot 16/25 (64%!!)from deep, and Arizona only shot (7/26) 26.9% from deep. Ballgame. The 3 ball has turned college hoops on its head, and now almost any mediocre P4 or good G5 team can beat a ranked team, but it NORMALLY happens at home, and almost EXCLUSIVELY with good 3 point shooting.
BYU’s talent, strategy, and COACHING gives us a chance in every single game this year. I’m guessing we go around 10-8 in league, and I’d be thrilled with 11-7 or—GASP!–even 12-6, but this is shaping up as a really fun season with great upside and a chance in every game–something we haven’t had the last couple years, even in the Rec League (insert vomit emoji).
Pope has obviously leveraged this knowledge masterfully, at least so far. Our commitment to OWN the 3 point line AT BOTH ENDS comes with two big risks: getting beat on D to the rim for easy buckets, and overreliance on 3s on a night when we are not hitting—look no further than the Utah game for an example of what happens when BOTH things go wrong on the same night. If only one of the two cardinal sins (getting beat to the rim on D or shooting poorly from 3 on O) happens, we can still win, but not against the UKs and UHs of the world. With all the focus on our 3 pt attempts, DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE the importance of our 3 point defense: what we do on the perimeter–particularly SJ, Saunders, Robinson, Hall, Stewart, and Waterman–is sending me to the moon and back. I honestly don’t think we have had this type of perimeter length and athleticism in my lifetime.
Oh, and SDSU just beat the Zags AT Gonzaga. How’s that for making our solid W over SDSU look good to the committee?
I don’t know how to search old posts, nor do I want to take the time, but I have been saying Pope is THE MAN for BYU Basketball since BEFORE Dave Rose retired. I recall saying many times to many people that BYU should force Rose aside and grab Pope from UVU before Pope got a much higher paying job someplace else, which 100% would have happened. Mark Pope is the perfect guy to lead this program for the next (hopefully) 20 years.
Pope at BYU:
2020-actual sweet 16 or elite 8 talent with Yoeli/Toolson/TJ. Tournament cancelled.
2021-NCAA Dance team; lost to eventual final 4 UCLA team in a VERY close game.
2022-2023–both teams were bad, because both teams shot poorly from 3 pt land, and neither defended particularly well. In 2023 Robinson, Hall, and Saunders were all effectively freshmen, Knell was out all year, and we just didn’t have the experience to properly defend.
You can’t even put Pope and Arod in the same universe…Arod is the QB coach and in 6 years has never recruited a QB that was a significant contributor. Imagine Pope going 6 years and not recruiting a single PG who contributed. It’s inconceivable. If that happened, then yes he would be long gone.
On the long-term effort to prepare BYU for the Big 12
“We were very intentional last season. We felt like going into the Big 12 with all the new that we were going to face, we didn’t want to have a new roster, so we did the thing you’re not supposed to do in college basketball and went super, super young last year. I think it’s been a real gift for us to have those guys back, and now it’s year two and our guys are so much better,” Pope said.
He continued, “College basketball is rarely patient enough to build something, but I’m blessed to be here at BYU where we can actually do that with the support of our admins and fanbase. We actually have the opportunity to build things. Last year was really exciting for us, we felt like with a bunch of newbies on the team we felt like we had a ton of success and felt like we wanted to take a swing at growing a program over multiple years, which is impossible to do now with transfer rules and NIL, but our guys are bought in. … We’re still in the infant stages of trying to grow this, because we understand that for us to be competitive in this league that’s the way we’re gonna have to do it.”
Me: This is what I have been talking about. Rent A QB or Point Guard will rarely work. Hopefully Sitake is aware or his tenure will end. It takes time to develop team chemistry.
Looking forward, Pope not only has a winning core this season but looking forward our core seems intact enough to add a couple of transfer pieces. BTW: Ques Glover reinjured his leg in his 1st game back. I wish him good luck but, boy, what a blessing it was for him to transfer
Speaking of Ques, you never want to look past the next game, but I’m sure looking forward to February 10 when we get KSU at the Marriott Center. I loved Kansas State in the dance last year–NO player was more fun to watch than their PG Markquis Nowell. When K State recruited Ques when he was already enrolled I was disappointed, but not mad, because with NIL the gloves are off. What bothered me was their coach backing up the truck full of sh$% and dumping it on BYU and Coach Pope. What a loser. He danced around with some word salad that would make Harvard’s (now former) president proud, but he basically said MARK POPE IS A LIAR. Seriously, what a clown. So K State instantly went from one of my favorite B12 teams to my least favorite…
Just as a reminder: Markquis Nowell is listed at 5’7" and that’s a lie. Looks more like 5’5". He made an NBA roster. In last year’s NCAA Dance:
13.75 ASSISTS PER GAME. Just think about that.
13/31 (42%) from deep
Tonight Utah got beat down by ASU in Tempe. ASU led pretty much wire to wire, Utah kept it close then completely shat the bed the last 5 or 6 minutes and fell behind by as much as 15. Yet another example of how hard it is to win on the road. ASU is an AWFUL 3 point shooting team (29%) on the season and very selfish offensively with an AWFUL 1:1 Asst:TO ratio, averaging 11 of each per game. But tonight, at home, ASU hit 12 treys at 43% to Utah’s 7 at 31%, and ASU had 18 assists.
I watched most of the game and to me, Carlson and Smith looked like the only guys on Utah who could compete athletically with ASU. But BYU totally dominated ASU IN EVERY phase and won 77-49. Again, 77-49. It wasn’t even marginally competitive. We held ASU to 2/20 from deep. TWO OF TWENTY. Yet they hit 12 vs Utah, and most of them with limited to no defender in the shooters’ faces. I’m so glad I didn’t watch the BYU debacle at Utah (Crap12 Network) because I have NO EARTHLY IDEA how we could lose to the Utah team I saw tonight.
I did not see the Utah-BYU game either, I was soaking up Florida sun with no access to $$ grubbing ESPN+.
Utah must of gotten food poisoning in Tempe. hahahaha, or…I have suspected Utah numbers were inflated by an emotional win over BYU. Hunter has been their go to 6th man this year, go figure.
Proves one truth…BYU fans had better temper their road expectations, Even bottom dwellers, like Ok St, WVU and Ok State are starting to look very tough in home games. When a 106 ranked ASU takes down a 14 ranked Utah on the road, shows just how tough it is to win road games. The one stat that jumps out to me is the 3 point shooting. ASU 12-28, Utah 7-22. Ball game, Utah out rebounded ASU but TOs 15 vs. 13 ASU.