Iona versus BYU should be interesting matchup

Jeff Call and I are at the Salt Lake International Airport this morning in a quick turn around to get to Dayton, Ohio after Sunday’s selection show and Tuesday’s first round NCAA game with Iona.

This should be an interesting matchup with Iona’s smaller but quicker size against Cougar rebounding and superior post play.  A key will be how Noah Hartsock plays and BYU’s guards have to step up on both ends of the court.

I spoke to Hartsock on Sunday and he said he is ready to go, no hesitance in his voice at all.  His problem has been a bad ankle, coupled with that nasty twisting fall against Santa Clara that wrenched his knee.

The official photographer for Santa Clara sent me a photo graph of the play in which Hartsock got injured.  He grabbed the rebound just before a Santa Clara player crashed into him, hopping on Hartsock’s upper body, placing more than 450 pounds on him as he turned and pivoted.

Hartsock, right before he crashes with weight of Santa Clara's Yannick Atanga.

As Stephen Rogers left the BYU Broadcast Building, I caught his eye and asked how he was doing.  “Not good,” he said.  Apparently he reinjured his knee in practice late last week.

These injuries have hurt the Cougars.  It’s been three years of these at this time of year if you remember Tyler Haws getting hit in the eye in the MWC tournament right before he left for his mission as a freshman.  Last year Jimmer Fredette injured his calf muscle before halftime of that overtime loss to Florida and was not the same in the second half and overtime.

If Hartsock is indeed OK, it looms large for Dave Rose.  Hartsock is the heart and soul of this team because he is so dependable on both ends of the court.

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4 comments

  1. Stephen

    If you can’t make the 64, whats the point being invited to a play-in game? BYU doesn’t belong this year to the NCAA March Madness. They really aren’t that good. They really didn’t beat anyone, even in the WWC. Go play in the NIT!!

    • CougFaninTX

      @Stephen – maybe you missed the memo. For the past two years the NCAA has been at 68 teams, not 64. BYU is not playing to get in. They are in the NCAA tournament. They play in Round 1.

      Just curious, if BYU with 25 wins “really aren’t that good”, how would you describe the team up North?

    • Ralph J

      @stephen

      It’s now the 68, not 64. Get with the times, you’re just bitter because your Utes are so bad that the women’s gymnastics team gets better attendance than you do (they had 14K at a recent match).

      25 wins is good, 30+ wins is great. Who knows how this season could’ve turned out if Hartsock, Collinsworth, Rogers, etc didn’t miss numerous games due to injury.

      Rogers is a very confident, big time shooter and would’ve been a huge help during the middle of the season when we had our shooting slump. Teams wouldn’t have had an easy time sagging in on Davies and Hartsock with a healthy Rogers in the game.

      I hope he can get his knee healthy for next year. Same for Collinsworth. We’ll need the depth.

  2. Mark Newman

    @Stephen: I would agree that BYU hasn’t had a stellar season, but you cannot turn your head on 25 wins. Injuries hurt them, particularly Rogers and Hartsock. However….I would side with the many experts, Basketball experts, who pick the field and know the game much better than the general public. The experts nearly had BYU out, which would not have surprised any realistic Cougar fan. For me? I’m glad they are in and feel they are as deserving as many schools who make it due to “fluke” conference championship runs. I look forward to the Tourney! GO COUGS!

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