Archive for the ‘Utah’ Category

Dakarai Tucker (Utes #14) drills 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to give Utes 63-60 lead.

Dakarai Tucker (Utes #14) drills 3-pointer with 40 seconds left to give Utes 63-60 lead.

The Washington Huskies pushed Utah to the edge, overcoming a 12 point first half deficit, but the Utes hold out late and beat UW 67-61 in the first game of the opening round of the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

This win locks up Utah’s second round matchup against No. 1 seed Arizona tomorrow.

The turning point and play-of-the-game both came on a clutch 3-point basket made by Dakarai Tucker with 40 seconds left to give the Utes a 63-60 lead over UW.  After that, Utah hit four free throws to Washington’s one.

Utah’s player of the game was undoubtedly Delon Wright who recorded 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and 2 blocks.

The Utes led early, getting out to a 30-18 lead with 4:37 remaining in the first half.

That lead was chipped away at by the Huskies behind 16 points off the bench from Darin Johnson, who led all scorers, until Washington eventually took a 41-40 lead with 11:34 remaining on a Johnson layup.

It was back and forth from that point until eventually the game was tied 60-60 with just over a minute remaining.

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BYU recently released Brandon Davies, starting center for the Cougars’ men’s basketball team. Reason given, “honor code violation”.

Now, growing up in Utah and being Mormon myself, I’m more than familiar with BYU and their honor code, which stems loosely from standards expected of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I also happen to be a fan of BYU’s rival school, the University of Utah, so I find myself in a life canundrum. On the one hand, I respect the Church for standing by their rules and guidelines and am completely in agreement with Davies being kicked off the team and possibly out of school.

On the other hand, I hate BYU…fans. If you have ever had the pleasure of meeting a BYU fan during a down year for their current sporting program, nicest people you could ever meet. Now, if you meet that same fan during a year where their team (football or basketball) is having a great season, or in this case, the best year they will ever have…ever, the story is the exact opposite.

BYU fans have trouble handling success. If you think this statement is false or biased in any way…watch this video of a mass celebration in the streets following BYU’s victory over then ranked Oklahoma week 1 of the 2009-10 season.

Week 1. Over a team ranked #3 in the preseason before ever playing a game. These fans act like they just won the BCS National Championship game. Fast forward through the season, Oklahoma losses 5 games and ends the season unranked. BYU gets slaughtered on their own field by Florida State, TCU, and ends up 2nd place in the Mountain West with yet another invite to the “illustrious” Las Vegas Bowl.

Arrogance, self-righteousness, having a sense of entitlement, all great ways to describe the Cougar fan-base. Ever since BYU started to get recognition, or should I say since Jimmer Freddette started to receive recognition, the rumblings started again for the team down south.

“We will win the tourney this year”. “Jimmer Freddette is the best shooter ever to live”, and of course “Jimmer is gonna be unstoppable in the NBA” are all ridiculous comments I have heard personally from friends of mine that attend BYU. Don’t even get me started on the comments I’ve read online.

Because the Cougar fans can never seem to learn to hold off talks of greatness until they actually acheive it, I am thrilled at the prospect of another early exit for the “kitties”.

Once upon a time, there was a modest sports program out of Salt Lake City that went undefeated and shook the college football world in 2004. They liked it so much, they did it again in 2008. As an added bonus, their school was invited to the PAC-10 to play with the big boys.

BYU, meanwhile, went on to lose in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament. They also lose Jimmer Freddette to the NBA, Jackson Emery to graduation, and Coach Dave Rose to a higher paying position. They move on to “solitary” in football and the West Coast Conference for basketball and a few other sports, where they strengthen their rivalry with increasingly competitive Utah State and fade into obscurity.The End

Good story huh?

Jimmer Fredette (32) of BYU shooting a floater over the helpless Portland defenders.

Yeah, I admit it. I caught Jimmer fever.

Everyone had been talking about Jimmer Fredette the last couple days. ESPN had exhausted its talk on the Packers and Steelers victories over the Bears and Jets, and it’s far too early to really delve into Super Bowl talk. College signing day for football isn’t for another week and the Heat didn’t play the Knicks until tonight (Jan. 27th).

Far and away, the #4 San Diego State vs #9 BYU NCAA basketball match-up was the talk of the day. The story here? Jimmer Fredette. This kid puts the ball in the hoop. The end. Watching him is a thing of beauty. His shot is so pure and refined that he can shoot from 5+ feet beyond the NBA 3-point line, uncontested, better than some guys shoot their free throws.

Watch what Jimmer did to my boys.

Yeah, the Utes got it handed to them and yet I could watch this clip 200 times on loop because when you watch Jimmer Fredette play, there are no faces on his victims, there are no names or “U’s” on those jerseys. There is only Jimmer Fredette, the basketball and whatever he has to do to get that basketball in the hoop. That’s it.

The downside (there always is one) is that Jimmer Fredette will get worked on defense in the NBA. He has a long way to go. But he can be taught. The other issue with Fredette, is that shooting distance and accuracy will translate directly over to the NBA as far as open looks go. Problem is, NBA defenders are harder to shake. Even Kobe Bryant doesn’t get open looks more than 10% of the time maybe.

I think that Jimmer is like a mix of Manu Ginobili and J.J. Redick.

Watching Fredette shoot from deep, deep range reminds me of J.J. Redick. While at Duke, Redick was draining deep range shots like it was nothing. He would light up scoreboards on a nightly basis, much like Fredette. The problem with Redick, though, was that he was very much a catch and shoot type shooter. He was at his best coming off the pick, catching the ball 3+ feet away from the 3-point line and draining insanely difficult shots.

The reason I think Jimmer will have much more success in the NBA than J.J. has, is his Manu side. Fredette can beat almost anyone off the dribble and weaves through defenses at will. If he’s not open, he’ll get open. If his shot isn’t there he’ll get to where a shot is, and drill it. The kid is the Cam Newton of NCAA Basketball this season. They both touch the ball at least once every possession anyway…