Last NCAA Appearance: 2008, First Round loss to Texas A&M
Coach: Dave Rose (0-2 in 2 NCAA appearance)
Why They Can Surprise:
No team in the nation shoots better than BYU. The team as a whole shoots an amazing 51.2 percent from the floor. Much of the credit for that lofty number belongs to wing Lee Cummard. Cummard is not taking as many three-point shots as he did last year, but he still connects on 41.4 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. The 6-7 senior, who is averaging 17.0 points per game, will also use his size to get to the basket and that is where he has been the most effective this season.
Cummard is not the only great outside shooter on this team. Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery also shoot over 40 percent from beyond the arc and average over one make per game. The most prolific shooter of the bunch is Jonathan Tavernari. He only shoots 37.5 percent from long range and 45.3 percent from the floor, which is pretty bad for this team, but the 6-6 junior is averaging 17.1 points per game and leads the team in rebounding and steals.
Why They Can Disappoint:
The main thing that is lacking on this team is an interior threat on the defensive end. Nobody on this team is a real threat to block a shot and that has made the defense easier to break down than it has in years past. Center Chris Miles has done an admirable job scoring some points and grabbing some boards, but few opponents will be scared to take the ball to the rim when he is patrolling the paint. An intriguing option to turn into that shot blocking threat is freshman James Anderson. He has not seen the floor very often this season, but he has played more late into the campaign and has proven to be a decent shot blocker and a capable, albeit inconsistent, scorer.
Who To Watch:
The emergence of Fredette is why BYU has turned into a dangerous team. The frontcourt is not as dangerous as it was a year ago, but the backcourt is even better. Fredette, just a sophomore, turned out to be a perfect fit for the system and it did not take long for the rest of the conference to figure that out. He is averaging 15.4 points per game on the season and does a majority of the ball handling. He dishes out 4.6 assists per game and commits just 2.6 turnovers, which is not too bad for a sophomore on a team that likes to get the ball out in transition in a conference noted for its quality defensive play. If Fredette can continue playing smart basketball in March, the Cougars could surprise a team or two.
Jimmer Fredette, Sophomore, Guard
Jackson Emery, Sophomore, Guard
Lee Cummard, Senior, Guard
Jonathan Tavernari, Junior, Guard
Chris Miles, Junior, Center
Charles Abouo, Freshman, Guard
James Anderson, Freshman, Center
Lamont Morgan Jr., Junior, Guard
+ Following final Bracket announcement, more team info will be added, including final RPI, final team statistical rankings, Joel's prediction, and more!