On Tuesday night I took a few minutes to talk about the matchup between Oregon and BYU in the NCAA Tournament on the Cougar Center Podcast. It was a great conversation about the growth of these two teams throughout the regular season. We talked about what Oregon players could become hot in the NCAA Tournament and even how the loss of Sophomore Kyle Collinsworth will effect BYU going forward. In return I asked Lawless Republic Lead Editor Mitch Harper some questions about the Cougars:
Mar 19, 2014; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Oregon guard Johnathan Loyd during a press conference before the second round of the 2014 NCAA Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports
1. Oregon and BYU met in Eugene with the Ducks getting the win 100-96 in Overtime in December. How have the Cougars grown this season since that game? How have they/will they deal with the loss of Kyle Collinsworth?
The loss to Collinsworth is significant because KC was so versatile for BYU. On any given night Collinsworth has shown he could go off for a triple-double. BYU doesn’t have anyone else on this roster that can provide what he did. But in terms of growth since the first matchup with UO, I’d say BYU has found production from unlikely sources since that game. Guard Anson Winder, who only played one minute in the first matchup with the Ducks is now in the starting lineup. He’s been BYU’s best defender.2. Oregon and BYU have some season familiarity. How will that play to an ‘advantage’ for BYU?
It’s a unique element to the tournament. Usually there is no familiarity with your opponent in this setting. I think it helps BYU in this one being familiar with the Ducks, because that was one of BYU’s best played games this year for about 39 1/2 minutes. That loss left a bitter taste with this team. They felt that they let one slip away in Eugene, and they feel confident it’s a good matchup for them personnel-wise. Particularly in the front court where BYU won the glass against UO.
3. The Ducks and Cougars have been ‘streaky’ this season. However, the Ducks had a rough Conference start losing eight straight games and finally figuring it out down the stretch. Oregon Senior Mike Moser has been a big part of the latest winning streak, ending against UCLA in the Pac-12 Tournament. Oregon seems to find talent in ‘transfers’ and makes them successful. BYU is taking the traditional approach. What has Tyler Haws meant to the Cougars this season.
First off, I really like what Dana Altman has done with fifth year transfers. Transfers in hoops can provide an immediate impact, and I feel Oregon has a bright future under Altman. But as far as BYU is concerned, they definitely turn to the high school ranks for their talent. BYU has been blessed to have tremendous recruits coming from Utah. The 2012 & 2013 classes have both been ranked in the top 25 by some recruiting publications. Coming into the season, freshman center Eric Mika was touted as the 2nd best center in the country by ESPN Scouts Inc. Dave Rose is building something special at BYU. It’s a golden era for the Cougars in terms of on the court success, and the talent is growing.
Haws has been terrific. He was a highly-touted kid out of high school back in 2009. Turned down Stanford to come to BYU. Coming into this season, many were unsure if he could outdo his sophomore year where he caught the WCC off guard as a return missionary, en route to 22 ppg. This year, he has outdone himself again. Earning WCC Player of the Year honors, Haws is on pace to be one of the all-time leading scorers in BYU history.
The one argument that people can make with Haws is that he has a tendency to disappear in big games. For example, in the WCC Championship game against Gonzaga last week, had it not been for his 11 free throw makes, Haws was non-exisistent in the scoring department. BYU needs at least 25 from Haws to pull the upset over Oregon.
4. Oregon is playing in their 11th NCAA Tournament, BYU in their 28th. What do you see as the most intriguing matchup for this one?
I think this is a great game. It’s one of the best match ups in the round of 64. I’m really curious to see how BYU point guard, Matt Carlino fares against Jonathan Loyd. Loyd of course entering his 143rd game as a Duck which is I believe a Oregon record, right? But I’m interested to see how Carlino responds to being placed back in the starting lineup. Shortly after the UO loss in late December, Coach Rose went with a switch to the starting lineup putting Collinsworth at PG, and bringing Carlino off the bench. Carlino is a streaky player, but when he is on, he makes BYU a very difficult team to beat.
Oregon and BYU meet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday at 12:10pm PT on TruTV.
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