BYU men’s basketball wants another shot at the national level after making the AP top 15 last year and finishing the season in # 1. 18 when the postseason was canceled due to the pandemic.
Despite winning three games in four days, BYU was still unable to crack the top 25 in the latest ranking published on Monday.
BYU’s best chance of hitting the top 25 will come this week when the Cougars play in the Roman Legends Classic. BYU will take on USC at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Tuesday.
Graduate transfer Matt Haarms is excited about the opportunity and believes this should be a good test.
« I think it’s going to be a really good challenge for us to really see where we can play against a team of this caliber, » said Haarms. « We did it this week, we had some dog fights, but I think USC will definitely – easily – be the most talented team we have played so far. « . ”
Tuesday’s game will also be the first of three games this week. It’s the second straight week that the Cougars have played so many games.
This time, however, the three games will be spread over five days. BYU has a day off between tips. The Cougars play a second game at the Roman Legends Classic (against St. . Johns) before heading back to Utah on Saturday to play in Utah State.
If it looks like a lot of action, BYU trainer Mark Pope knows. But that’s how he likes it.
Three games last week have taught the Cougars where they are, he said. And it’s not just about the Xs and Os because BYU has played such different teams, but about learning how players react to different situations.
« [The Games] are getting harder and harder, so we can face a different challenge, » said Pope.
Only two Cougars played more than 30 minutes and two more than 20 minutes against Utah Valley on Saturday. There were another five players recording more than 10, but ultimately each player checked in for at least a few minutes.
« The depth also really helps us to deal with these games, » said Pope. « And it will continue to be very important. ”
Pope said he was « super proud » of his players because they were ready to accept the minutes he offered them, even if they were few.
Trevin Knell came off the bench to play the Cougars against Utah Valley for 24 minutes and hit an important 3-pointer to set off the offensive when they were 10 points behind in the first half. The sophomore said his biggest achievement in the first week of the season was how the team could overcome frustration and trust each other.
« We’ll take that into account next week when we play USC, UConn and Utah State, » said Knell.
About BYU »After three games, senior Alex Barcello leads the team with an average of 21. 3 points at 66% shooting. . . . The Cougars lost junior striker Gavin Baxter last week, who will miss the rest of the season with an ACL injury. … Purdue Transfer Matt Haarms made his BYU debut on Saturday after sustaining an ankle injury a few weeks ago. He won’t have any minute limits this week.
About USC »The Trojans are a relatively young team led by a second core made up of Ethan Anderson, Isaiah Mobley and Max Agbonkpolo. … USC started this season after winning 109 games in the past five seasons, making it the most successful five-year course in school history. … In the first two games, USC has six players averaging 10. 0 points or more.
BYU Cougars Men’s Basketball, Brigham Young University, USC Trojans Soccer, USC Trojans Men’s Basketball, Matt Haarms, Legends Classic, Basketball, Mark Pope
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