BYU basketball notebook: BYU climbs in polls despite loss to UNM
PROVO — For the BYU basketball team, it was an up-and-down week.
A lot of top 25 teams had a similar experience.
The Cougars recorded a huge victory over San Diego State at home last Wednesday, which was followed by a setback to New Mexico Saturday at The Pit.
When the dust settled after a wild week that saw a slew of top 25 teams taste defeat, BYU climbed one spot from No. 9 to No. 8 in the Associated Press poll released Monday.
The Cougars (20-2, 6-1) remained No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll. The Aztecs (21-1, 6-1) fell from their spot at No. 4 to No. 7 in the AP poll and to No. 6 in the coaches poll.
As it turned out, Saturday's setback didn't hurt BYU's national standing.
"I can't remember a week in college basketball where the top 25 teams were in as many close games and actually got beat as many times as they did," said coach Dave Rose. "It is nice to know that when you are in a conference that's ranked in the top four or five, and you go on the road and you play a good game and get beat, you don't drop 10 or 15 spots, like seems to have happened in the past. A lot of it is respect for these players. They've been in the polls for quite a while and I think people respect that."
The Cougars, who saw their 10-game winning streak end in Albuquerque, returned to practice Monday, preparing for Wednesday's game (6 p.m., The Mtn.) at Wyoming. After resting on Sunday, the Cougars watched a lot of film Monday, then participated in a short practice.
"It's always nice to have Sunday off to kind of rest. Physically, we were a little tired on Saturday," said senior guard Jackson Emery. "It was good to take a day off, relax and put things back into perspective. Emotionally and mentally it was good to take a step back and put into focus what we're trying to accomplish. Our season's not over. We still have a lot we want to accomplish."
"Every time you get beat, you have an opportunity to look in yourself," said Rose. "It's just natural, especially when you have competitive guys. This was a game that we played hard enough to win … The guys are ready to go out there again and play."
Rose said his team needs to improve on the defensive end.
"What we need to do is play a little better defensively," he said. "When you go on the road in league and play a team that's averaging 68 points in conference, and you score 77, you expect to win. The game got away from us defensively the last six or seven minutes of the game."
NO EXCUSES: BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, who scored 32 point against the Lobos, didn't make any excuses for BYU's loss at New Mexico, but he did acknowledge that he felt a little tired, and sick during the game, admitting, "I didn't have quite as much energy as I usually do."
Explained Fredette: "I had a little cold this last weekend. I couldn't breathe real well during the game. But I'm feeling a little better today as far as my head cold goes."
BONE-CHILLING: Today, the high temperature in Laramie is expected to minus-five degrees, with a low of minus-16. On game day on Wednesday, the forecast calls for a balmy five degrees as a high temperature.
"We're looking forward to a little cold spell," Rose quipped. "I hear the numbers are a little frightening, as far as the temperatures."
JIMMER VISITS ROME: Fredette was interviewed by Jim Rome on his radio show Monday morning. Fredette told the talk show host, among other things, that this has been the best year of his life.
Asked about the interview with Rome, Fredette said, "He's a good guy. I watch him a lot. He tells what's on his mind. That's what I respect about him. It was a fun interview."
JIMMER — NOT THE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Despite averaging 37.5 points, shooting 52 percent from the field, including 65 percent from behind the arc, along with 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game, and helping his team defeat a top 10 opponent, Fredette did not receive Mountain West Conference player of the week award.
Instead, Colorado State's Andy Ogide and New Mexico's Drew Gordon shared those honors. Ogide averaged 21.5 points and six rebounds in wins over Air Force and Utah. Gordon recorded double-doubles in victories over TCU and BYU.
Cougars on the air
No. 8 BYU (20-2, 6-1) at Wyoming (8-13, 1-6)
Wednesday, 6 p.m.
TV: The Mtn.
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
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