Falling in the West Coast Conference tournament final on Tuesday night was tough enough for BYU, as they fell 75-64 to Gonzaga. What makes things worse for Dave Rose’s team is the fact that their best playmaker has played his last game of the season.
Guard Kyle Collinsworth suffered a knee injury in the second half of Tuesday’s defeat, and on Wednesday the school announced that Collinsworth tore the ACL in his right knee. He will undergo surgery early next week, according to the school release.
A first team All-WCC selection, Collinsworth led the Cougars in both assists (4.6 apg) and rebounds (8.1 rpg) while also scoring 14.0 points per game. Both Collinsworth and Tyler Haws, BYU’s leading scorer, were selected to the WCC’s All-Tournament team. Losing Collinsworth is a big loss for a team thought to be on the bubble in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s defeat.
On the court more will be asked of Matt Carlino, who was moved into the sixth man role last month and has become more comfortable with the change as the season’s worn on. However the bigger concern is how Collinsworth’s injury affects the selection committee’s thinking.
Injuries are something that the committee takes into consideration, and not having Collinsworth certainly changes things for BYU. The Cougars have non-conference wins over Stanford and Texas on their resume in addition to a win over Gonzaga on February 20, giving BYU three wins over teams ranked in the Top 50 of the RPI.
Will that be enough for a team that is a different group without Collinsworth? What was bound to be a long five-day wait before this news becomes even more nerve-wracking for BYU, with the hope being that the selection committee believes that they’re worthy of an at-large bid.
One of the biggest storylines of Saturday’s college basketball schedule had everything to do with a team that no longer matters in the championship picture.
Less than 24 hours after being informed that the school would be imposing a postseason ban that will leave the Cardinals out of the ACC and NCAA tournaments, No. 19 Louisville tipped off against Boston College, and they did so without leading scorer Damion Lee, who is battling a knee issue.
How would the team respond to the decision — the despicable, shameful decision — that the university’s president made?
Well, it seems.
The Cardinals jumped out to a 19-2 lead in the first eight minutes and cruised to a 79-47 win over an overmatched Boston College team in the Yum! Center.
And head coach Rick Pitino, after the quote, said exactly what everyone is thinking.
“We should be penalized, no question about it,” he said. “But not this team. But the NCAA didn’t make that decision. We made that decision.”
He’s totally right. The school sacrificed the season — and the only shot that a pair of fifth-year seniors would get to play in the NCAA tournament — to protect the school, the brand and the bottom-line moving forward. Like I said earlier, it’s despicable.
But credit the Cardinals for responding.
Because they still have something on the line. They’re just a game out of first place in the ACC, and while an ACC regular season title isn’t a shot to play in the ACC or NCAA tournament, it’s still a banner that would probably mean more to Damion Lee and Trey Lewis than any league title has meant to a Louisville player before.
Oklahoma State’s star point guard was not in the lineup on Saturday against No. 13 Iowa State.
Evans injured his shoulder in the Cowboys’ loss at Texas Tech on Wednesday and was ruled out of Saturday’s game.
According to the school, his official status moving forward is questionable. The Pokes are just 11-11 on the season and likely need to earn the Big 12’s at-large bid to get into the NCAA tournament. It makes sense to let him get healthy.
Evans was averaging 12.9 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 boards this season, but he had been arguably the best point guard in the Big 12 during league play, averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 assists.