Well, I think the Cats will be happy that the out of conference season has ended and with luck, they took to heart one more painful reminder of what it means to wear the name Arizona on the front. as BYU beat Arizona 99-69 at McKale Center on Monday night. If there was one alarming note based on the play of this team, it appears to be a lack of grit and pride. Maybe that's just a fan thing nowadays, but I suspect that none of our NBA alumni are gonna be happy to see a guy named Fredette dropping 49 on the team in their own building.
BYU simply outclassed Arizona in so many ways it is painful to even list them here...but there are some extremely disturbing trends here....
One, when Nic Wise gets outclassed, he really gets outclassed. One might have expected the senior to step up and try and inspire his troops. Instead he was smoked by his counterpart on the BYU side and had nothing in response. Now it may be unfair to lay this on Nic, but as the senior guy and with the claim that he is supposedly sporting NBA level quicks, he was no where to be seen tonight. 8 points and zero assists.
Two, Jamelle Horne actually played tonight. You might have missed it as he scored all of his points in the first few minutes of the BYU onslaught. He did have three assists and six rebounds. Granted, there weren't that many rebounds to be had the way that BYU was shooting, but he was essentially a non factor.
I see that Miller still has quite a ways to go to mold this group into something resembling a team....obvious points where the team can improve....
a) Turnovers. 19 tonight. BYU didn't pressure the Cats, just tried to stay in front of them and took advantage of lazy passes and complacency. To note, the problem isn't exclusively with the guards, of the four gentlemen manning the blocks tonight, Jacobson, Horne, Williams and Natyazhko, they accounted for 10 turnovers.
b) Free Throws - obviously it wouldn't have mattered tonight, but 61% isn't going to get it done. Main offender tonight was K. Parrom who went 0-5 at the stripe.
c) Pride and Passion - about the only to guys out there that were displaying any anger at the beat down were Jacobson and Fogg. Maybe today's players are cut from a different cloth or show their emotions differently, but where was that fire that Nic Wise showed in the NC State game tonight? Maybe there's too much pressure or perhaps not enough, but there doesn't appear to be enough determination to not get faced out there on the floor. I'm not saying that the guys have to "go to the mattresses", but someone needs to be leading out on the court and if what the coach wants isn't getting done, someone needs to be jawing out there to get it done. Instead, Miller is having to do it from the sidelines. No one is stepping up to lead when things go south, someone needs to go out there and make that happen.
If and when that happens are of primary concern, prelims are over and now it is time for the real thing. Right now this group still appears to be a group of individuals who happen to be playing together, after twelve games, many would have hoped to see more cohesion and development. Still it appears to be a one step forward, two steps back. I'm not sure a dose of Kevin O'Neill in your face defense is going to be met with clarity of purpose and determination and until these guys start playing for the name on the front instead of the one on the back, it will be a long season.