BYU, Utah basketball report card: Utes show Cougs some Love(ridge) in dominant program-elevating win (7 items)
Jordan Loveridge, the best player in the state of Utah. Check.
The Utes, the best team. Check.
Before its game against Utah, BYU had played the likes of Iowa State, Wichita State and UMass, who are all currently ranked in the top 25. The Utes looked better than all of them in a dominating 81-64 victory over the Cougars Saturday night.
College basketball can be a strange game. The Cougars were coming off a 48-point thrashing of Prairie View A&M. The Utes were coming off a game against Idaho State that they had to rally to win.
There was no rallying needed for Utah in this one, as the home team led big from start to finish. It was a perfect storm for the Cougars. All their weaknesses seemed to show at once, just as their in-state rivals were playing out of their minds.
Just about everything that could go wrong for BYU did Saturday night at the Huntsman Center: missed free throws, foul trouble, lack of depth, lack of quickness, toughness and passion on defense, and wild play from Matt Carlino.
Meanwhile the Utes, much to the delight of the energized home crowd, validated a number of things with their blowout win of the Cougars: their early season record, their rebuilding strategy, their head coach and their largely unheralded group of players.
It was a tremendous victory for the Utes.
Here are the grades for each team's position group and other aspects of the game:
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: email@example.com or @nategagon.
1 of 7. UTAH GUARDS
The other guards stepped up in some important moments as well, particularly freshman Parker Van Dyke, who hit two straight 3-pointers in the first half that almost seemed to be the early nail in the coffin for BYU.
Perhaps most importantly, the Ute guards played inspired, athletic, confident and effective defense.
2 of 7. BYU GUARDS
Matt Carlino had a miserable game, shooting 3-of-15 with zero assists. His defense couldn't have been worse than his offense, but it wasn't much better.
Kyle Collinsworth played aggressively early and tried to be an emotional leader for the Cougs, but his game was not effective. Tyler Haws and Frank Bartley IV appeared rattled by the atmosphere and both played about as poorly as we've seen them play.
Again and again this season, the BYU guards have looked like they were so concerned with fast-break offense that they had no interest in defense. The perimeter defense for the Cougs was abysmal.
3 of 7. UTAH BIG MEN
If Loveridge's performance wasn't enough, the Ute big men off the bench also played phenomenally well. Junior center Dallin Bachynski, particularly, was outstanding, showing up the Cougar bigs time and time again.
Center Jeremy Olsen was extremely effective as well. The Ute bigs set the tone early and often in this game, playing with great desire and effort.
4 of 7. BYU BIG MEN
Nate Austin got in early foul trouble and was a non-factor. BYU coach Dave Rose needed Austin to play smarter and stay on the court. Backup Luke Worthington again recorded no statistics other than a foul.
As it has been all season, front court depth continued to be a major obstacle for the Cougars.
5 of 7. UTAH COACHING
Somehow Ute coaches must have figured out a way to guard BYU on the foul line.
Every time BYU looked like it might make a run to get back in the game, the Utes made an adjustment to regain control. To say this was a huge win for Coach K doesn't do it justice.