MWC Co-Player of the Year Lee Cummard and the Cougars face Texas A&M Thursday in the NCAA Tournament. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #35 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (27-7, 14-2 MWC)
TEXAS A&M AGGIES (24-10, 8-8 BIG XII)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
4:25 p.m. PT (5:25 p.m. MT)
BYU, Dave Rose (72-25 in third season; same overall)
TAM, Mark Turgeon (24-10 in first season; 177-129 in 10 years overall)
BYU???leads, 1-0, after an 83-81 neutral-court victory on Dec. 28, 1972
CBS (Dick Enberg, play-by-play, Jay Bilas, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar???Sports Network (3:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. MST) pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU FACES TEXAS A&M IN NCAA FIRST ROUND
BYU has received an at-large invitation to the 2008 NCAA Tournament and will play Texas A&M of the Big XII Conference in first-round action on Thursday in Anaheim, Calif., at the Honda Center. Game time has been set for 4:25 p.m. PT (5:25 p.m MT). The Cougars (27-7) are the No. 8 seed for the second straight year and are playing in the West Region. The Aggies (24-10) received a No. 9 seed. The game will be televised on CBS and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 3:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. MT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City. The Cougars have won 15 of their last 17 games. The Aggies advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament before bowing out to top-seeded Kansas.
The winner of the BYU-Texas A&M game will advance to the NCAA Tournament second round to face the winner of No. 1 UCLA and No. 16 Mississippi Valley State on Saturday.
WEST REGIONAL IN ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA (BYU POD)
THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2008
First Round Game 3 -- 4:25 p.m. (PT)
NO. 8 BYU COUGARS (27-7) vs. NO. 9 TEXAS A&M AGGIES (24-10)
First Round Game 4 -- 25 minutes after conclusion of game 3 -- approx. 6:50 p.m. (PT)
NO. 1 UCLA BRUINS (31-3) vs. NO. 16 MISS. VALLEY ST. DELTA DEVILS (17-15)
SATURDAY, MARCH 22, 2008
Second Round -- 3:45 p.m. or 6:15 p.m. (PT)
GAME 3 WINNER vs. GAME 4 WINNER
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- At 27-7, BYU has tied for the best 34-game record in the 105-year history of the program. The Cougars have a chance to tie the program record of 28 overall wins achieved by the 1950-51 team that went 28-9.
-- BYU became the first MWC team to win two outright league titles with a 14-2 record in conference play. The Cougars also won the MWC crown outright last season.
-- BYU won its second straight league title with a one-game improvement over last year's 13-3 record, setting a league record with 14 conference victories. The Cougars also improved their margin from last season to this year, winning the title by two games over UNLV this year after just a one-game margin last season.
-- With a 25-6 overall regular-season record, the Cougars set a program record for regular-season victories.
-- BYU was 6-2 on the road in conference play, winning four straight between losses at UNLV and San Diego State. Overall, BYU is 8-5 in away games this season and 3-2 on a neutral floor. BYU's road victory marks in overall and league play tie MWC records.
-- Two-time MWC???Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC???title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season. The Cougars have also been nationally ranked in back-to-back seasons.
-- Junior Lee Cummard became BYU's fourth MWC Player of the Year in the nine-year history of the league as he earned Co-Player of the Year honors this season along with New Mexico's J.R. Giddens. Cummard and junior Trent Plaisted were named to the All-MWC First Team while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari earned third-team honors.
COUGARS IN THE NCAA
-- This is BYU's 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cougars advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season as a No. 8 seed, losing 79-77 in the first round to Xavier at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky. Prior to last year, BYU last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2004 as a No. 12 seed, losing 80-75 in the first round to Syracuse at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
-- The Cougars have an 11-25 record in the NCAA???Tournament.
-- This will be BYU's first NCAA Tournament appearance in Anaheim, Calif.
-- BYU has gone to the NCAA Tournament five out of the last eight seasons (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008). BYU has earned a postseason tournament invite in eight of the last nine years (NIT in 2000, 2002, 2006).
-- Since seedings were started, BYU???has been seeded as high as a No. 3 seed in 1980. BYU???was a No. 4 seed in 1988. Other single-digit seeds included being a No. 5 seed in 1979, a No. 6 seed in 1981 (the year it advanced to the Elite Eight), a No. 7 seed in 1993 (the last year BYU???was ranked during the season prior to this year), and No. 8 seeds in 1984, 1995, 2007 and 2008. BYU???has been a No. 12 seed in 2001, 2003 and 2004.
-- BYU has lost in the first round in its last five NCAA appearances. BYU's last NCAA win was in 1993 as a No. 7 seed in Chicago when the Cougars defeated SMU, 80-71. BYU lost to No. 2-seed Kansas, 90-76, in the second round that year.
-- BYU is 7-15 in its opening round games in NCAA Tournament play.
-- The last time BYU advanced out of the second round was in 1981 when the Cougars (as a No. 6 seed), defeated Princeton, 60-51 before upsetting No. 3-seed UCLA 78-55. BYU went on to defeat No. 2-seed Notre Dame on Danny Ainge's last-second, length-of-the-court dash, 51-50, to advance to the Regional Finals before losing to Ralph Sampson and No. 1-seed Virginia, 74-60.
-- Current Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 0-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament play with last year's 79-77 loss to Xavier. Legendary BYU coach Stan Watts has the most NCAA Tournament with with a 4-10 record in seven appearances followed by Frank Arnold (3-3 in three appearances), Ladell Andersen (2-3 in three appearances), Roger Reid (2-5 in five appearances) and Steve Cleveland (0-3 in three appearances).
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose played in the NCAA Championship game for Houston's "Phi Slamma Jamma" team that lost to North Carolina State at the final buzzer in 1983. BYU assistant coach Dave Rice was a
member of UNLV's 1990 National Championship and 1991 Final Four teams that won a school record 45 consecutive games.
LAST YEAR IN NCAA FIRST ROUND -- COUGARS' SEASON ENDS WITH LOSS VS. XAVIER
LEXINGTON -- Despite a nine-point second half lead, the BYU men's basketball team was upset by Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, falling 79-77 Thursday in Rupp Arena. The Cougars are now 11-25 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 7-15 in first-round games, having lost in their last five first-round appearances. BYU scoring was led by Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Keena Young's 24 points. Also scoring in double figures for the Cougars were Mike Rose with 15 points, Austin Ainge with 12 points and Jimmy Balderson with 10 points. Young also led the team with 10 rebounds. BYU started the game with back-to-back turnovers on its first two possessions, giving Xavier an early 2-0 lead before Young scored the Cougars' first four points of the game. Ainge went on to score the next five points, contributing to a 9-0 BYU run. Balderson's three-point play off a driving layin at the 15:36 mark gave BYU a 12-4 lead. With 12:20 left in the first half Justin Doellman's make from behind the arc brought the Musketeers to within one. Mike Rose's first bucket of the game came on a three-pointer to give BYU a 17-13 lead. The Musketeers scored to bring their team within two points only to be followed by a Balderson layup on BYU's subsequent drive. Mike Rose found his second three-pointer of the night on a pass from Balderson before Xavier answered with one of its own from the opposite end of the floor. The Musketeers closed in on a three by B.J. Raymond with 6:35 to play in the first half. BYU failed to score on its next possession, but a steal by Ainge and two made free throws following a Xavier reaching foul put the Cougars up by three. Doellman scored Xavier's next five points, giving his team a 28-26 lead, its first since the 18:14 mark. Young's made 12-footer tied the score again with 3:08 to play in the first half. The Cougars capitalized on a Musketeer shot clock violation when Mike Rose made a three off an assist by Sam Burgess. Ainge recorded a make from behind the arc, capping an 8-0 run to pu the Cougars up 38-32 going into halftime. Young opened the second half of play by driving to the basket and scoring on a running layin. He would go on to score BYU's first six points of the half. Mike Rose continued to find success from behind the arc when he drained his fourth three following a Doellman put-back dunk. A 13-6 Xavier run tightened the Cougar lead to two points, bringing the Musketeer fans to their feet. Reminiscent of its loss against UNLV last Saturday, BYU relinquished its lead and allowed Xavier to pull ahead. Young's jump shot with 9:02 to play in the second shifted the momentum back to BYU. Ainge cut further into the Musketeer lead and brought BYU to within one point when he scored inside at the 7:53 mark. The Cougars continued to be outrebounded on both ends of the floor. On his second trip to the charity stripe in less than one minute, Plaisted went 2-for-2, cutting into the Musketeers' 66-64 lead. After an offensive foul was called on Xavier's Brandon Cole, Cummard's three tied the game for the ninth time with 2:31 to play in the second half. Young made two free throws to put BYU back on top 73-71. Cummard's putback following a missed jumper by Young tied the game again before Xavier's driving layup put the Musketeers up by two points with 35 seconds remaining. Lavender went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line to give Xavier a 79-75 lead with 11 seconds to play. A basket at the buzzer from Young was too little too late as BYU fell 79-77.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I think our guys fought really hard. It was anybody's game to win in the end. They just made more plays than we did."
-- "It was a great game. Both teams battled. I think that it came down to just a couple plays at the end. I thought our guys were extremely focused and played relaxed and played with confidence. We played a very good team in Xavier, a very well-coached team. I'm very proud of our players because I felt like the effort they gave tonight, they left everything on the floor and that's all a coach can expect. Our guys fought really hard. You have to give Xavier credit. They were able to make more plays than we did."
-- "We were having a hard time guarding them. They're an extremely physical team. We were in foul trouble. I thought we'd try to protect ourselves."
-- "I told the team I was really proud to be their coach. They batted, they competed, they got ahead, they fell behind and they battled back."
Xavier Head Coach Sean Miller
-- "I'd like to congratulate BYU on a great season. It was a tough, tough hard-fought game. It could have gone either way. As we watched a lot of film to prepare for this game, it became very apparent how well coached they were. They have such a unique team with their inside players. [Keena] Young is a terrific player, and he was terrific tonight. As a team, they are so dangerous from three in that they are very difficult to guard. I give our team tremendous credit because we had to really reach back deep in the second half to beat them."
BYU NOTES FROM NCAA FIRST ROUND
-- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess - 5 rebounds; Keena Young - 4 assists (tied)
-- BYU NCAA Tournament Records -- Mike Rose's five three-pointers made is tied for second all-time.
-- The Cougars are now 11-25 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and 7-15 in first-round games, having lost in their last five first-round appearances.
-- BYU is now 23-6 when scoring more than 70 points and 5-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 38-32 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 26th halftime lead of the season. Overall, BYU is 22-4 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied. BYU trailed 32-30 with 2:53 left in the half but scored the last eight points of the period on a layin from Sam Burgess, and three-pointers from Mike Rose and Austin Ainge.
-- Keena Young scored in double digits for the 29th time this season with 22 points against Xavier, topping the 20-point mark for the 11th time this season.
-- With 12 points against the Musketeers, Austin Ainge has now scored in double figures in seven of the last nine games. The senior point guard had 10 points before halftime.
-- Mike Rose made another huge impact for BYU off the bench as he recorded 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting from three-point range. Rose has come off the bench to tally at least three makes from long range in nine games this season.
-- Jimmy Balderson became one of just 19 Cougars to play in at least 115 games for BYU as he suited up for the 115th time in his Cougar career against Xavier.
-- After Xavier scored the first bucket of the game, BYU put together a 9-0 run with four points from Keena Young and five points from Austin Ainge to go up 9-2. However, the Musketeers responded with an 8-0 run of their own to cut the lead to one point at 12-11 with 12:22 left in the first half.
-- The Cougars went scoreless from the field for a stretch of 4:31 in the first half, getting just four free throws during that time to turn a 24-17 BYU lead into a 30-28 Xavier advantage. However, the Cougars recovered to score 10 of the final 12 points of the first half.
-- Keena Young took over the game for BYU in the second half, scoring the Cougars' first six points of the period after posting eight points in the first half.
-- BYU held Xavier to just one field goal in the first 5:51 of the second half, allowing the Cougars to take their largest lead of the game to that point at 49-40 despite the Musketeers going 8-for-8 from the free-throw line during that time.
LOOKING AT TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M is the No. 9 seed. The Aggies boast a 24-10 record and placed sixth in the Big XII with an 8-8 mark. A&M advanced to the semifinals of the conference tournament before bowing out to top-seeded Kansas. Coach Mark Turgeon is in his first season guiding A&M, leading the Aggies to their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance and their fourth straight postseason appearance overall (2005 NIT). Overall, A&M is making its ninth NCAA appearance and has a 6-9 record, including a 3-2 mark in the last two years. Turgeon is making his second NCAA appearance as a head coach. In 2006, he led Wichita State to the Sweet Sixteen, where they fell to eventual Final Four participant George Mason. A&M went 16-4 at home this year, 4-5 on the road and 4-1 on a neutral floor. After a 20-4 start, the Aggies have gone 4-6 over the last 10 games. Junior guard Josh Carter paces Texas A&M with 11.9 points per game followed by senior forward Joseph Jones with 10.4 ppg. Six players are scoring eight or more points per game to help A&M average 71.5 points while allowing 61.9. The Aggies shoot .466 from the floor, .358 from long range and .637 at the line while holding opponents to .393 shooting, including a .339 clip from behind the arc. A&M wins the battle of the boards, 39.3--32.2.
TEXAS A&M PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 00 Bryan Davis 6-9 250 So. 8.6 4.9 Dallas, Texas
F 23 Josh Carter 6-7 200 Jr. 11.9 4.0 Dallas, Texas
F 30 Joseph Jones 6-9 255 Sr. 10.4 5.1 Normangee, Texas
G 15 Donald Sloan 6-3 205 So. 9.4 4.0 Dallas, Texas
G 22 Dominique Kirk 6-4 185 Sr. 8.6 3.4 Dallas, Texas
TEXAS A&M'S LAST???OUTING -- AGGIES FALL IN BIG XII SEMIFINALS
KANSAS -- Brandon Rush scored a career-high 28 points in front of his home town fans, sealing the deal with two free throws in the final seconds, and No. 5 Kansas beat scrappy but outmanned Texas A&M 77-71 Saturday in the Big 12 semifinals. The two-time defending champion Jayhawks (30-3) will meet Texas (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) for the championship for the third year in a row. Kansas and Texas tied for the regular-season title, but the Longhorns bested the Jayhawks 72-69 in their only meeting. The Aggies (24-10) outrebounded Kansas 35-25 and hit almost 54 percent of their shots but could not stop Rush, the 6-foot-6 junior who was going to declare for the NBA after his sophomore season but was thwarted by knee injury sustained in a pickup game in May. Rush grabbed a defensive rebound and Darnell Jackson converted it into a 72-66 lead with less than 3 minutes left, then Jackson increased the lead with a free throw. But back came the Aggies, quickly slicing the lead to 73-71 on Beau Muhlbach's 3-pointer and a pair of free throws by Dominique Kirk with 54 seconds to go. Russell Robinson, one of four guards who powered Kansas to its fourth straight regular-season Big 12 title, dribbled around Texas A&M's packed-in defense for a one-handed layup. The Aggies hustled down court but Muhlbach missed a 3-pointer and Josh Carter's tip-in clanged off the rim. Mario Chalmers grabbed the rebound for Kansas, which beat the Aggies 72-55 in the regular-season finale. With 6 seconds left, Rush was fouled and made both free throws, triggering a huge roar from the pro-Kansas crowd the Jayhawks always enjoy in Kansas City. Jackson had 14 points for Kansas and Collins added nine. Bryan Davis had 16 points and Joseph Jones 14 for Texas A&M, which will hope to be at least the fifth Big 12 team to get an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament on Sunday. The Aggies closed out the first half on an 8-0 run, forging a 34-34 tie, with Jones getting three points and Kirk canning a long 3-pointer and following that with another a bucket. Kansas quickly went back on top after intermission. Rush's tightly contested 5-footer went in at the 9:21 mark for a 57-49 lead. Then the teams traded 3-pointers, with four going down in a span of 1 minute, 9 seconds starting with Bryan Davis' over-the-shoulder prayer that banked in at the buzzer. Rush came right down court and answered with a 3 from the top of the key, then Carter canned a long one for the Aggies and Sherron Collins again answered for the Jayhawks after taking a nifty pass from Chalmers, making it 63-55.
This will be the second meeting between BYU and Texas A&M with the Cougars winning the first contest, 83-81, on Dec. 28, 1972 at the All-College Tournament. BYU is 0-3 all-time against Big XII teams in the NCAA Tournament with the last meeting coming in 1993 when the Cougars lost to Kansas, 90-76 in the second round. The game was BYU's last second-round appearance as the Cougars have gone 0-5 in the NCAA Tournament since.
POTENTIAL SECOND ROUND OPPONENTS
LOOKING AT UCLA
UCLA is the No. 1 seed. The Pac-10 champion Bruins went 16-2 in conference play and are 31-3 overall. The Bruins went 16-2 at home, 9-1 away and 6-0 on a neutral floor. Finishing nonconference play at 15-1, UCLA lost to No. 8 Texas, 63-61, before league set backs to rival USC (72-63) and at Washington (71-61). The Bruins defeated common BYU foes Michigan State, (68-63) and Idaho State (89-49). UCLA is led by first-team All-American Kevin Love, who is averaging 17.1 points and 10.6 rebounds in his first college season. The freshman center is shooting 55.7 percent from the floor, 35.9 percent on threes and 76.3 percent at the line. Four Bruins average double figures with point guard Darren Collison (15.2 ppg), swingman Josh Shipp (13.0 ppg) and guard Russell Westbrook (12.6 ppg) contributing toward UCLA's 74.1 points per game. The Bruins shoot .478 from the floor, .345 on threes and .731 at the line. Bruin opponents average just 59.1 points while shooting .430 from the field and .335 from behind the arc. The Bruins pull down 8.4 more rebounds per game (36.1--27.7).
UCLA'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 3 Josh Shipp 6-5 220 Jr. 13.0 3.2 Los Angeles, Calif.
F 12 Alfred Aboyo 6-8 235 Jr. 3.1 2.3 Yaounde, Cameroon
C 42 Kevin Love 6-10 260 Fr. 17.1 10.6 Lake Oswego, Ore.
G 0 Russell Westbrook 6-3 187 So. 12.6 3.8 Hawthorne, Calif.
G 2 Darren Collison 6-1 165 Jr. 15.2 2.7 Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
The BYU vs. UCLA series is tied at 11-11. The two teams last met in the Cougars' 2006-07 season opener with UCLA getting an 82-69 win with an 18-7 run to end the game in Los Angeles on Nov. 15. The Cougars' last win in the series came with an 87-80 victory at UCLA on Dec. 5, 1987. The two teams have met four times in the NCAA Tournament, splitting a 2-2 record. The Bruins won in 1965 and 1971 under Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden on their way to two of their 11 NCAA titles while the Cougars won a 1950 West Regional Consolation game and a 1981 Second Round game with 37 points from Danny Ainge on their way to the NCAA Elite Eight. Thirteen of the 22 games in the series have been decided by less than 10 points with nine of those contests being decided by a margin of five points or less.
LOOKING AT MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE
Mississippi Valley State is the No. 16 seed. The Delta Devils earned an NCAA bid by beating common BYU opponent Jackson State to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. MVSU has won nine straight games entering the NCAA Tournament and is 17-15 overall, including a 12-5 conference record. The Delta Devils went 8-4 at home, 6-9 on the road and 3-2 on a neutral floor. Carl Lucas leads MVSU in scoring at 12.7 points per game. The Delta Devils average 62.7 points while giving up 65.8 points. MVSU shoots .406 from the floor, .346 on threes and .681 at the line, while opponents have shot .442 from the field and .313 from long range. On the glass, MVSU opponents have edged the Delta Devils, 35.2--33.5.
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 21 Carl Lucas 6-5 210 Sr. 12.7 5.5 Hollandale, Miss.
F 34 Eric Petty 6-6 220 Jr. 6.2 4.3 Salinas, Calif.
C 01 Larry Cox 6-10 225 Sr. 12.4 8.0 Rome, Ga.
G 10 Dwayne Harmason 5-11 175 Jr. 4.9 2.2 Plaqamine, La.
G 23 Michael Clark 6-2 180 Jr. 8.0 2.2 Tchula, Miss.
BYU and Mississippi Valley State have never met.
BYU IN THE TOURNAMENT
With their championship game loss to UNLV, the Cougars have an 11-8 Mountain West Conference Tournament record. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC Tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000. BYU then went five years without a finals appearance until losing to host UNLV???in the 2007 and 2008 Championship games. BYU has won its quarterfinal game in six of the nine MWC Tournaments. BYU has a 4-2 semifinals record and 1-3 finals record in MWC Tournament play. During the six years the MWC Tournament has been played in Las Vegas (2000-03, 2007-08), BYU has posted a 10-5 tournament record, with four finals appearances and one title (2001. BYU had a 1-3 tournament record during the three years the championship was conducted in Denver (2004-06). Overall, BYU???has a 23-21 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC Tournament games. BYU???has played every MWC team???in the MWC???Tournament.
MWC TITLE GOES THROUGH BYU
In eight of the nine years of the Mountain West Tournament, BYU or the team that has knocked the Cougars out of the tournament won the title, including championship game losses to host UNLV in each of the past two years. 2006 was the first time that trend did not continue as San Diego State won the title after BYU was knocked out by Utah in the quarterfinals. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC???Tournament in 2000, BYU???won the title in 2001. The next four years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal losses to 2003-champion Colorado State and 2004-champion Utah. In 2005, New Mexico went on to win the title after defeating BYU???in the quarterfinals.
BYU SEEDS AT MWC TOURNAMENT
BYU has been the No. 1 seed at the MWC Tournament in each of the past two seasons after winning back-to-back outright MWC titles. The Cougars are 4-2 as the top seed including their championship game loss win to UNLV this year (finals appearance in 2007 and 2008). BYU has been the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title). The 2006 Tournament was the first time that the Cougars have been the No. 3 seed in the MWC Tournament (first-round loss to Utah). The Cougars have also been the fourth seed once (suffering a first-round exit with loss to eventual-champion San Diego State in 2002), the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000) and the No. 7 seed once (2005 first-round loss to eventual-champion New Mexico).
FRUITS OF THE SEEDS
In the nine years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 2 seed boasts the best mark at 16-5 while the No. 1 seed has gone 14-7. The No. 6 seeds have a combined 9-7 record while their first-round opponent No. 3 seeds have a 6-8 record. No. 4 teams have gone 9-9. Fifth-seeded teams are 4-7. The No. 7 team won for the first time in 2006 and now has a 2-9 record. The No. 8 seed has a 2-1 record in first round games and a 3-8 record overall. The No. 9 seed is 1-2 in the first round game and 1-3 overall. 2006 marked the first time the No. 7 seed advanced past the quarterfinals and the first time neither the No. 2 nor No. 3 seed advanced to the semifinals. The Tournament title has been won by the second seed four times (BYU in 2001, New Mexico in 2005 and UNLV in 2007 and 2008); the top seed twice (UNLV in 2000 and San Diego State in 2006); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).
BYU won the MWC Tournament title in 2001 over New Mexico. BYU won WAC Tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo., for the 1992 title. BYU won its first WAC???Tournament title in 1991 with an overtime win over Utah. The Cougars also won the postseason conference playoff series in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1924 (defeated Colorado College, 2-1) and 1933 (defeated Wyoming, 2-1).
AT THE THOMAS & MACK CENTER ...
UNLV and BYU are the only teams with winning MWC Tournament records at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV has reached the championship game every year it has been eligible at the Thomas and Mack. Below are the win totals and records for the nine MWC teams in the six tournaments held at the Thomas and Mack Center (note: UNLV was ineligible for tournament play in 2001, and TCU has only played two tournaments in Las Vegas) :
UNLV: 13 wins (13-2)
BYU: 10 (10-5)
CSU: 5 (5-5)
Wyoming: 4 (4-6)
Utah: 4 (4-6)
SDSU: 4 (4-5)
UNM: 2 (2-6)
TCU: 1 (1-2)
AFA: 0 (0-6)
MWC TEAMS IN THE NCAA
In the nine years of the MWC, eight of the nine conference members have advanced to the NCAA Tournament at least once. TCU is the lone team not to advance, but the Horned Frogs have only been MWC???members for three seasons. New Mexico became the last of the other MWC???teams to earn a spot in the NCAA???Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament. 2008 MWC Tournament Champion UNLV received the league's automatic bid this season while BYU was selected as an at-large team.
BYU AND MWC IN POSTSEASON
BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in eight of the nine years of the MWC, leading all MWC???teams. BYU is tied with Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made five NCAA and three NIT while Utah has made five NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received seven postseason invites (three NCAA, four NIT). New Mexico has received five (one NCAA, four NIT) along with San Diego State (two NCAA, three NIT) while Air Force has made four postseason appearances (two NCAA and two NIT). Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT) while Colorado State has been to one NCAA Tournament.
BYU'S SEES THREE???HONORED???WITH???MWC???ACCOLADES
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2007-08 men's basketball awards Monday. The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards. BYU's Lee Cummard was selected as the Co-Player of the Year along with New Mexico senior J.R. Giddens, marking the fourth time in MWC history that the top player award has gone to a Cougar. Overall, Cummard is the ninth BYU player to earn conference Player of the Year honors (John Fairchild, 1965, WAC; Danny Ainge, 1981, WAC; Devin Durrant, 1983, WAC; Timo Saarelainen, 1985, WAC; Michael Smith, 1988, WAC; Mekeli Wesley, 2001, MWC; Rafael Araujo, 2004, MWC; Keena Young, 2007, MWC). In addition to the major awards, three All-MWC???teams were announced as Cummard and Trent Plaisted were named to the All-MWC First Team and Jonathan Tavernari was honored with a third-team selection. The last time BYU had two first-team all-conference honorees was in the 2000-01 season when Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday were so honored.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- MWC TOURNAMENT TITLE STAYS IN LAS VEGAS
LAS -- History often repeats itself, and for the second year in a row No. 23 BYU (27-7, 14-2 MWC) lost to UNLV (26-7, 12-4) 76-61 in the championship game of the 2008 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship in Las Vegas on Saturday. Freshman Jimmer Fredette scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Cougar offense, and All-MWC Tournament Team selection Lee Cummard followed with 11 points, four assists and four rebounds. BYU head coach Dave Rose complimented his team on its effort and congratulated UNLV on its victory. The fans came out in droves to support the home team at the Thomas & Mack Center and became an effective "sixth man". UNLV jumped out to an early 7-3 lead, but sophomore Jonathan Tavernari scored BYU's first eight points on 3-for-3 shooting with two three-pointers to keep his team in the game. The Cougars made their first five buckets from downtown and led for the final 16 minutes of the first half. Senior Sam Burgess had nine points in the first period, making all three of his attempted shots, including two triples. Cummard also had nine points in the half, shooting 3-for-4 from the floor with three rebounds and three assists. Freshman Chris Collinsworth fulfilled his first-half role on the defensive end, hit his second three-pointer of the tournament and threw down a huge two-handed dunk over a Rebel defender in only nine minutes of play. In total, BYU was 12-for-20 from the field in the first half and 6-for-8 from behind the arc. As a team, the Cougars were also 7-for-8 from the free-throw line and had 14 rebounds. UNLV was 12-for-30 overall and 4-for-9 from the three-point line as the Cougars took a 37-33 lead into the locker room at the break. The Rebels regained the lead 1:36 into the second half at 39-38 after scoring six of the first seven points. UNLV rolled on to score the next six points on back-to-back threes from Utahn Joe Darger. It was a run from which BYU would not recover. After Darger's three-pointers, UNLV made only six field goals in the remaining 17:20 of the game, including going 8:18 without a bucket from the floor and only four points from the line. However, the Rebels were 16-for-22 from the charity stripe in the same time frame. UNLV's Curtis Terry was 8-for-10 by himself from the line in that time. Fredette did all he could to keep BYU alive in the second half. He scored 13 of his 17 points in the half, and senior captain Trent Plaisted had all of his nine points in the half as well. The Cougars were only 7-for-11 from the free-throw line in the half and 1-for-10 from three-point land. When all was said and done, BYU shot 44.4 percent from the field and had a 38.9 three-point percentage. UNLV shot 41.8 percent from the floor and 45.0 percent from downtown. The Rebels won the battle of the boards, 36-25, and had only seven turnovers to the Cougars' 12.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought it was a hard fought game. Both teams played well. They played with a lot of energy in the second half. They played really great and deserved to win."
-- "Wink (Adams) put in a lot of hard work in the summertime. He's one of the best players in our league. We made a few defensive mistakes, but for the most part he was just making big plays in a big-time game."
-- "We shot the ball very well in the first half. Our effort was really terrific in the first half. I thought the second half the game was a lot more physical. It was tougher for us to get the ball where we're more comfortable."
-- "I think the feeling I have right now is similar to last year. It's tough to lose. This is a very competitive group. What we need to do is get home and get back out on the practice court and get after it."
-- "They do what they do. They're extremely aggressive defensively. They're an active, athletic defensive team. They don't allow you to get open catches and open shots. You have to create things. I thought we did a good job of that for the most part, but in the end it kind of wore us out."
-- "It's frustrating, but I'm very proud of our players because we battled and competed. We came up a little bit short, but it's because UNLV is a great team. We give the credit to them."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmer Fredette - 6 free throws made, 7 free throws attempted.
-- MWC Records: 1,326 rebounds in a season.
-- MWC Tournament History -- With the loss, BYU is now 11-8 all-time in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, including a 4-2 record as the event's top seed and a 10-5 mark in Las Vegas. The Cougars are 1-3 in MWC Championship games with all three losses coming at UNLV in the Thomas & Mack Center (2000, 2007, 2008).
-- BYU's 27-7 record this season is tied for the best 34-game record in program history with the 1950-51 team that also posted a 27-7 record through 34 games before finishing the year 28-9.
-- The Cougars are now 11-7 away from the Marriott Center this season, including an 8-5 road record and a 3-2 mark on neutral floors. BYU has won eight of its last 10 games away from home.
-- The loss to UNLV snaps a six-game Cougar winning streak. BYU has won 15 of its last 17 games.
-- The Cougars added to their school-record season three-point total with seven treys against the Rebels, bringing their season mark to 278. BYU has hit at least five treys in 32 of 34 games this year.
-- Jonathan Tavernari added to his school and MWC sophomore record for threes in a season with two against the Rebels, bringing his total to 85. Tavernari has hit at least two treys in 27 games this season. Tavernari and Cummard have each made at least one three-pointer in 31 of 34 games.
-- With a 37-33 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 28th halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 25-3 when leading at the break. BYU has scored at least 30 first-half points in 27 contests.
-- The Cougars' 60 percent first-half shooting mark against the Rebels marked just the second time this year BYU has shot at least 60 percent in the first half (62.1 percent vs. Pepperdine).
-- With a game-high lead of 11 points against UNLV, BYU has now led by double-digits in 26 of 34 games. The loss marks just the third time this season the Cougars have seen a double-digit lead slip away (led by 14 vs. Michigan State, led by 12 at Boise State). BYU also led the Rebels by 14 points in last year's MWC Championship game in the Thomas & Mack Center before losing 78-70.
-- With 17 points, Jimmer Ferdette scored in double figures for the 12th time this season, posting the second-highest scoring output of his career (19 vs. Hartford). Fredette has led BYU in scoring twice (15 at Wake Forest).
-- Cummard has now scored in double figures in 31 of 34 games this season.
-- Tavernari scored the first eight Cougar points in the game with two treys and a scoop in front of the basket. He then assisted the first bucket scored by a teammate, a three-pointer from Burgess.
-- The Cougars came out firing to begin the game, going 8-for-11 (.727) from the field in the first 10 minutes and making their first five three-pointers.
COUGAR SEASON TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 27-7 record through 34 games this year. With a win in the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars could tie the program record for wins in a season. That record is currently held by the 1950-51 team that achieved 28 victories while racking up a 28-9 overall record. BYU's current 27-7 mark is tied for the best 34-game record in the 105-year history of the program. (SEE???CHART???AT???LEFT) The 2007-08 Cougars are only of only seven teams in program history to play 34 games in a single season.
At 27-7 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 31st 20-win season, including three straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first three seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 25-9 following a 20-9 campaign in 2005-06. BYU???has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 80 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose is the third Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years, joining G. Ott Romney and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation in his first season.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 3 seasons of 20 wins in 3 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA???Tournament. Since the first NCAA???Tournament in 1939, BYU???has had 21 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including this year's team. In those 20 years, BYU???has earned a postseason invite each season, including 18 NCAA???bids, three NIT berths???(BYU???played both NIT???and NCAA???in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA???Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU???has had 16 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA???Tournament in 15 of those seasons, with the lone exception being the 2005-06 team that finished the regular season 20-7 and fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC???Tournament before receiving an NIT???invitation. Including this year, BYU???has reached 21 regular-season wins during 12 of those 16 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA???Tournament in each of those 12 years.
COUGARS IN CONFERENCE
With their win against Wyoming, the Cougars secured their 27th regular-season league title. The outright Mountain West Conference crown is the second straight for BYU, making the Cougars the only team in league history to win two outright conference crowns, let alone back-to-back titles. Prior to their current run, the last time the Cougars won back-to-back outright league titles was in the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons. With four total MWC titles (two outright and two shared), BYU has tied Utah (one outright, three shared) for the most MWC crowns. BYU basketball boasts a remarkable record of conference success during its history. After earning its 27th regular-season conference championship in 2008, the Cougars are tied for ninth among all NCAA Division I programs for most regular-season league titles won (see chart at left). Including conference tournaments, BYU has claimed a conference championship trophy during 28 seasons. The Cougars won the 1991 WAC Tournament after a second-place regular-season finish. Other conference tournament titles in 1992 (WAC) and 2001 (MWC) have followed up regular-season rings, as was the case with conference playoff wins in 1924 and 1933 in the Rocky Mountain Conference. BYU won six Rocky Mountain Conference titles in 20 years, earned five Skyline championships in 24 years, recorded 12 WAC crowns in 37 years and has garned MWC honors in four of the league's first nine seasons. BYU won the in-state title against rivals Utah and Utah State during 10 of the 12 years before the Cougars first joined a conference in 1918.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK
With a 39-9 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC???coach in league play in the past three years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 36-14 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 32-16. In addition to this year's 14-2 MWC record, Rose coached the Cougars to a 13-3 league and 25-9 overall record last year, earning Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. He was named the MWC and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year in his first season after coaching BYU to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success--which proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
COUGARS SET RECORD FOR REGULAR-SEASON WINS
This year's BYU???team set the program record for regular-season wins, becoming the first Cougar squad ever to achieve 25 victories prior to the start of postseason play. Three BYU teams reached the 24-win mark while last year's Cougars racked up 23 wins in the regular season. (SEE???CHART???AT???LEFT)
BYU AND THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The BYU men's basketball team re-entered the top-25 rankings in the prior three weeks before dropping out of the polls this week. BYU is listed 27th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and 28th in AP. The Cougars fell out of the top-25 polls released on Dec. 31 after a 73-70 road loss at Boise State. BYU appeared in the top-25 rankings the previous five weeks. In the Dec. 24 polls, BYU was ranked 20th in the AP Poll and 21st in the Coaches Poll. This season BYU first entered the national rankings on Nov. 26, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season when the Cougars entered the rankings at No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. In his third year guiding the program, Rose has seen his team earn the respect of the national voters for the second consecutive season. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993. BYU finished last year ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988. BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. The Nov. 26 entry into the national rankings marks the earliest the Cougars have been included in the polls since receiving a No. 18 ranking in the 1980-81 AP preseason poll. It also marked the first time BYU's football and men's basketball teams have been nationally ranked the same week in the AP poll since Dec. 28, 1992. The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51 (see list below).
SEASONS BYU HAS BEEN RANKED IN THE AP POLL
SEASON HIGHEST RANKING
BYU AS A RANKED TEAM
BYU owns a 142-58 record as a ranked team. The Cougars are 81-12 at home, 38-29 on the road and 23-17 at neutral sites when nationally ranked. BYU's victory at Portland on Dec. 1 marked the Cougars' first road win as a ranked team since an 84-63 victory at UTEP on March 4, 1993 when BYU was ranked No. 21. BYU is 15-6 as a ranked team under Dave Rose.
VS. RANKED TEAMS
BYU's victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 marked the highest-ranked team the Cougars have defeated since beating No. 2 St. Joseph's, 103-83, on Dec. 21, 1965. BYU is now 50-111 all-time against teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll and 1-2 this season including a 73-63 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in the championship game of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 24 and a 68-61 loss to No. 9 Michigan State at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Dec. 8. Prior to the UNC game, the Cougars had not faced the nation's top-ranked team since Dec. 23, 1992, an 89-66 loss to No. 1 Duke at the Maui Invitational. The Cougars were 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams last year with a 78-70 loss at then-No. 25 and evential Sweet-16 participant UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game, a 62-58 victory at then-No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan St.
PLAYING THE BEST
BYU's game against No. 9 Michigan State on Dec. 8 was its third game in three weeks against a top-10 opponent, including a victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 and a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24. BYU has played at least three regular-season games against top-10 opponents in a season just six times previously in program history with the last coming in 1983-84. Only twice previously have the Cougars played three top-10 teams during a three-week stretch, once in 1990-91 with a loss to No. 9 Utah on March 2, a win over No. 8 Utah on March 9 in the WAC Tournament and a loss to No. 8 Arizona on March 16 in the NCAA Tournament and once in 1980-81 with a victory over No. 9 Utah on March 7 in the WAC Tournament, a win over No. 10 UCLA on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament, a victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on March 19 in the NCAA Tourney and a loss to No. 5 Virginia on March 21 in the NCAAs.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 72 wins and .742 winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (76-23 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94.
7 Number of overall season statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st), scoring (5th), free-throw percentage (1st), offensive rebounds (9th), total rebounds (6th), assists (6th) and defensive rebounds (4th).
14 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 27 games in which he has taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah.
16.9 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 27 wins this season. BYU has won nine games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.
17 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Roland Minson to move to 13th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,359 career points.
22 Number of times this season BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half. The Cougars have scored at least 30 first-half points in 27 of 34 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 28 of 34 games, including 15 by double digits.
26 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 16 contests and 30 points in five. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 14 games this year.
31 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 27 of 34 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 24 games.
34 Number of starts made this season by Sam Burgess after the senior made just one start in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. Fellow senior Ben Murdock has also started all 34 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
50 This year marks the first time in program history a BYU team has had three players hit at least 50 three-pointers. Jonathan Tavernari (85), Lee Cummard (58) and Sam Burgess (56) have all surpassed that mark this year.
65.1 Percent of BYU field goals created by an assist. The program record is 64.7 percent achieved in 1992-93.
85 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari has hit this season, a new BYU single-season record. Tavernari's 85 treys have also set the sophomore MWC record.
87 Number of MWC games BYU has won since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season, leading all MWC teams. BYU and UNLV are tied for the most overall wins (189).
96.3 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 26-1 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark. BYU held a one-point lead at SDSU when the clock ticked 5:00 to go before Lorrenzo Wade hit a jumper 3 seconds later to give the Aztecs the advangage. SDSU held on for the win.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
BYU has won a school-record 47 straight games in the Marriott Center. The Cougars set the record with their 67-59 win over Utah in the Marriott Center on Feb. 20, their 45th straight home win. The streak also ranks first nationally. The Cougars are 16-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU???has since won 23 straight over nonconference opponents and 24 consecutive over MWC foes. BYU's last league loss at home was its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU???is 419-116 (.783) all-time in the Marriott Center, and Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 47-1. Prior to the current streak, BYU's longest homecourt victory streak was 44 games from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003.
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 8-5 in true road games this year with a 6-2 record in Mountain West Conference play, tying league records in both categories. With a 3-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 11-7 this season away from home. The Cougars have won eight of their last 10 contests away from the Marriott Center. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only MWC team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.
With the Cougars' 70-69 win at New Mexico coming on the heels of a loss at San Diego State, BYU has bounced back from all six of its losses this season with wins. BYU recovered from a setback against No. 1 North Carolina with a victory at Portland, a loss vs. then-No. 9 Michigan State with a win over Lamar, a loss at Boise State with a triumph against Loyola Marymount, a defeat at Wake Forest with a victory over Colorado State and a loss at UNLV with a win at Utah. The Cougars have won their bounceback games by an average margin of 16.3 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose has only lost back-to-back regular-season games once in his Cougar career (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar in 2006-07).
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 22-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 23-2 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. The Cougars' 55-52 win at Utah marked the first time this season BYU has won a game when scoring less than 70 points. BYU has since won six of its last eight games when scoring under 70 points. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in five games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State, and are 10-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 23 games this year, going 21-2 in those contests. The Cougars have tied an opponent on the boards twice this year, both times against SDSU. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 4.8 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (39.0). The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been done.
BYU has had five players score in double figures in a game five times this season, surpassing last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Five different Cougars have led the team in scoring with Lee Cummard pacing BYU a team-best 16 times.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have all made a difference for BYU. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 4.9 rebounds per game while ranking tied for 13th among MWC players in conference play at 5.3 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.9 ppg and tied for third in steals with 27. Loyd is averaging 8.8 minutes per game and has posted 37 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 9 turnovers in his 20 games played.
TOP OF THE HEAP
Lee Cummard has done as much for his team in the most variety of ways this season than any other player in the MWC. In conference play, Cummard ranked in the top 10 in nine of the 12 MWC statistical categories. New Mexico's J.R. Giddens ranked in the top 10 in eight categories and Utah's Luke Nevill ranked among the top 10 in seven categories. BYU's Trent Plaisted is joined by two other players--Lorrenzo Wade (SDSU) and Brandon Ewing (Wyo)--with six top-10 rankings. Cummard not only produces more numbers across the stat sheet than anyone in the conference but also does so more efficiently, averaging less playing time per game than Giddens, Wade and Ewing.
Player School Top-10 MWC Rankings
Lee Cummard BYU 9
J.R. Giddens New Mexico 8
Luke Nevill Utah 7
Trent Plaisted BYU 6
Lorrenzo Wade San Diego State 6
Brandon Ewing Wyoming 6
With 278 three-pointers this season, the Cougars have set a new program record, surpassing the old mark of 256 treys set last year. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game 11 times this year and has made at least five three-pointers in 32 of 34 games this season. The Cougars recorded the sixth-best three-point shooting percentage in program history with 81.3 percent accuracy (13-of-16) against New Mexico, which is also an MWC record in league games. Individually, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer in 31 of 34 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 27 contests and Jimmer Fredette in 23. Tavernari broke the Cougars' single-season three-point record of 74 with 85 treys so far this season. The mark is also a Mountain West Conference sophomore record. Including 85 from Tavernari, 58 from Cummard and 56 from Burgess, this season marks the first time in program history that a Cougar basketball team has had three players with at least 50 threes in the same season.
Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 34 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 28 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 72-25 record in his third season, BYU coach Dave Rose ranks first in wins and winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (76-23 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of March 15)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 72-25 .742
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 63-34 .649
*includes one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati
Head Coaches in Their First Year With a Program in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Bruce Pearl, Tennessee 76-23 .768
Dave Rose, BYU 72-25 .742
Tim Floyd, USC 66-36 .647
BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LEE CUMMARD (MARCH 17) -- Junior guard Lee Cummard earned All-Mountain West Conference Tournament honors last week for his efforts in leading BYU to the MWC Tournament Championship game. In BYU's three games, Cummard averaged 16.3 points per game, 5.7 rebounds per contest and 4.7 assists per outing, leading the Cougars in scoring and assists. He shot 59.3 percent from the field, including making 6-of-9 (.667) three-point attempts, and went 11-for-12 (.917) from the free-throw line. The MWC Co-Player of the Year began the week with a game-high 18 points vs. Colorado State in BYU's 89-62 quarterfinal victory. He went 6-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, and dished out a team-best seven assists. He once again led the Cougars with 20 points in a 63-54 semifinal win over San Diego State, his 11th 20+-point outing of the season, while going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line. He also brought down seven rebounds. Cummard scored in double figures for the 31st time in 34 games with 11 points at UNLV in the Championship game and once again led BYU with four assists.
1,000 POINT CLUB
Junior Lee Cummard will join the 1,000 Point Club with his next point as he currently has 999 career points. With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Plaisted now has 1,359 career points, 14th on BYU's all-time scoring list. Before Plaisted, Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 671 career rebounds, making him just the 11th player overall to record at least 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds.
BURGESS COMIN' UP BIG
Senior co-captain Sam Burgess is making the most of his final BYU campaign as he is fourth on the team in scoring (8.8), fourth in field-goal shooting among players with at least 60 attempts (.445) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.424). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.2 ppg while averaging 17.3 more minutes per game. His 15 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 33 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. He is averaging 10.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in the last eight contests.
BYU boasts four players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .854; Jonathan Tavernari, .867; Lee Cummard, .855; Sam Burgess, .826). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU. He earlier had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he had made 40 of 41 attempts (97.6 percent) over that stretch. He has been perfect at the line in 14 of 27 games he has gone to the line this year.
The Cougars' 27 victories this year have come by an average margin of 16.9 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 20 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of nine victories by over 20 points. The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including BYU's five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 11.7 points this year. With that mark, the Cougars are on pace to record their highest margin of victory since 1966 (+12.6) and the third-highest in program history. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points.
BYU had a season-best nine-game win streak end with a loss at SDSU. The victories were at Utah, vs. San Diego State, vs. New Mexico, at Air Force, at Wyoming, vs. TCU, at Colorado State, against UNLV and vs. Utah. That mark was tied for seventh nationally and was the Cougars' longest victory string since also winning nine straight in the 2003-04 season. BYU won six straight games after the SDSU loss untli losing at UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's seven losses this year have come on neutral floors against then-No. 1 North Carolina and then-No. 9 Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest, at UNLV and at SDSU. BYU held double-digit leads over Michigan State, Boise State and UNLV and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (32-2), Michigan State (25-8), Boise State (25-8), Wake Forest (17-13), UNLV (26-7) and San Diego State (20-12) have a combined 145-50 record for a .744 winning percentage as of games played March 15.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 46.0 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in 11 games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of 11 games this season and in the second half of 14 contests, totaling 25 halves of play with a shooting percentage of 50 percent higher, including eight above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 62.5 percent efficiency against Colorado State in the MWC Tournament bolstered by 73.9 percent shooting (17-for-23) in the second half. Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 56.9 and 54.1 percent and 30th and 51st, respectively, in the national rankings as of March 13.
The Cougars are 25-3 this season when leading at the half with 15 of the 28 advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest, UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 7.2 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of 10 of 34 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 27 of 34 games while holding opponents under 30 points 22 times. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break at Long Beach State marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped 40 points in the second half of 14 games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half four times.
PAINTING THE TOWN
The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the paint in 18 games and equaled them in two others this year, recording a +3.2 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in 11 games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 17-1 when besting opponents in the paint while six of BYU's seven losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE
Despite recording a -0.6 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 21 games this season, posting a +3.3 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount and equaled that mark in its win over Colorado State in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has outscored opponents in transition in 24 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only seven times. The Cougars average 4.2 more fastbreak points than their opponents. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fastbreak points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. Five of BYU's deficits in that category came in losses against No. 1 North Carolina (0-4), against No. 9 Michigan State (0-4) and at Wake Forest (0-8) and wins at Air Force (0-2) and at New Mexico (2-6).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only 13 times this year, but they have done it in 11 of the last 23 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench is tallying 628 points or 18.5 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.9 points per game. He had 14 points against Utah, his highest scoring output in conference play. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench and posted 17 points at UNLV in the MWC Championship game. Chris Collinsworth had a career-high 12 points off the bench in BYU's win over Colorado State in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 11 points at UNLV in the MWC Championship game, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 26 of 34 games and have led by more than 20 points in 16 games and more than 30 points in five contests. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 14 games this season.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had seven 20-win seasons in the first nine seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah, UNLV and San Diego State have had five while Air Force, Wyoming and New Mexico have each had three to date.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times. BYU's RPI has been second three times and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. BYU's schedule has been rated third in each of the past two seasons. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the prior three seasons.
-- BYU and UNLV are tied for the most overall wins at 189.
-- BYU has the most conference wins (87). Utah and UNLV each have 82.
-- BYU is tied with Utah for the most MWC regular-season titles (four).
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
MWC???TEAMS IN THE RPI
BYU has the Mountain West's second-best RPI. The Cougars have an RPI of 25 in the NCAA rankings, while UNLV leads the league with an RPI of 24. See various RPI ratings below.