I hate it when BYU plays UNLV in Las Vegas.
It is not hard to understand why I would feel this way, as I don’t even remember the last time we won there. Dave Rose has never beat UNLV at The Thomas and Mack, and BYU has lost their last eight there.
Anyone who says that UNLV doesn’t have an advantage there is just plain stupid. There is a reason teams in all sports want a home court advantage, because it is easier to win at home.
I am not making any excuses for BYU. Utah won at UNLV this year, and we all saw how BYU handled them. UNLV also lost in the tournament last year so it can happen, but there is definitely an advantage.
What this loss ultimately came down to was that BYU was a one man team, and that one man just wasn’t good enough.
Jimmer Fredette followed up his tournament record 45-point performance on Thursday with a 30-point encore on Friday. Unfortunately, he seemed to be the only one that could find the bottom of the net.
Michael Loyd Jr. was the only other BYU player in double digits with 11. The rest of the team couldn’t buy a basket, but they also didn’t take that many either.
Of BYU’s 53 shots Fredette and Loyd took more than half of them at 28. Chris Miles, who showed so much promise last year and earlier this season didn’t even take a shot.
The Cougars only shot 39.6 percent as a team, and Fredette was actually worse at 35 percent.
I would like to say that there was an obvious disparity in fouls or rebounds, or something, but it was all pretty close. Plain and simple BYU didn’t get it done, and UNLV did.
Both teams had already secured a berth in the NCAA tournament, but the win certainly gives UNLV a boost in the seeding, and a chance to take on San Diego St. for another quality win before the selections are made on Sunday.
With the loss I would put BYU as a No. 5 seed in the tournament. With all of the early losses from other teams in their respective conference tournaments BYU may creep as high as a No. 4, but I just don’t see it.
They haven’t earned the respect necessary in recent years to get that nudge up quite yet. However, a No. 5 seed gives them a good shot at a first round win, and a decent shot in the second round, and those are the kind of results that bear fruit in future seasons.
We are now left to wait until Sunday to find out what the committee decides. No matter where they end up, BYU will need a lot better team effort if they are going to succeed and break their run of NCAA Tournament losses.