It is hard to talk about BYU basketball without using the words "entertaining" and "up and down" in excess. Well, sorry, because I will probably use those a couple times in this piece as the Cougars square off tonight against Ole Miss in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. While Ole Miss is not quite as prolific offensively as BYU (and who is?), the Rebels are very solid on that end which should make for a very compelling matchup.
As we all know, BYU is an offensive juggernaut. At 84 points per contest, they are the 2nd ranked offense in the country in terms of scoring output and the 5th most efficient. Ole Miss averages 73 points per game which, insanely enough, sounds awful when compared to BYU when it actually ranks 52nd.
The key for Ole Miss will be how they defend. They currently allow 68 points per game which is pretty poor as it ranks near No. 200 in the country. The Cougars do whatever they can to not play defense as they allow 73 points per game which is near last in division one basketball. If Ole Miss can somehow limit Tyler Haws, Kyle Collinsworth, and company they will have a fighting chance but if this game turns into a shootout, I don't see how the Rebels can come out victorious.
Vegas currently has BYU as 4 point favorites while KenPom is predicting an 83-81 Cougar win (yes, that final score screams exciting...unless you like defense).
The Cougars seem to not only be a trendy pick to win this game but to also make a run in the tournament. The winner of this game advances to take on Xavier in the 2nd round. Personally, I think Xavier is better than what they are getting credit for but a dangerous offense in the tournament can take a team a long, long way.
FIRST FOUR SCHEDULE (ALL ON TRUTV) - TIMES IN PACIFIC
Tuesday, March 17
No. 16 Manhattan vs. No. 16 Hampton, 3:40 p.m.
No. 11 Brigham Young vs. No. 11 Ole Miss, 6:10 p.m.
Wednesday, March 18
No. 16 Robert Morris vs. No. 16 North Florida, 3:40 p.m.
No. 11 Dayton vs. No. 11 Boise State, 6:10 p.m.