It’s all about match ups at the Big Dance. Can the Cougars take advantage of a couple of key match ups verses the Florida Gators in Round One of the NCAA Tournament? Historically, guard play is a determining factor in the tourney and I think it will be so once again today.
Jimmer creates a real problem for the Gators. How do they defend him? If they go with 5′8″ Erving Walker on Fredette, Jimmer will be able to overpower him. I also don’t think that 6′1″ 183 lb Kenny Boynton will be able to handle the physical challenge of staying with Fredette. It would also mean that the diminutive Walker would defend Jackson Emery, who has shown an ability to post up smaller guards down low.
I heard one of the radio commentators on a local SLC sports talk show say that he expects Florida coach Billy Donovan to surprise the Cougars by playing a zone defense. I can’t imagine any team zoning BYU and leaving themselves open to the three-point barrage that would ensue. So I expect Boynton on Fredette and Walker on Emery, which I believe will be a large advantage for BYU. If Jimmer plays under control today and allows the game to come to him the Cougars should advance to the round of 32 for the first time in 17 years.
Today’s game is a must win for this program. This is arguably one of the very best teams in BYU history, having compiled the most wins in school history. Yet the result is no regular season championship and no MWC tourney championship. They are favored to win this game and have even become the trendy pick by many of the national pundits to make a run in this tournament. Laying an egg today and failing to win a first round game yet again would be disastrous! That monkey that on their back would become an 800-pound gorilla.