BYU doesn’t have much to cheer about

This year’s installment of the BYU men’s basketball team hasn’t given Y fans much to cheer about.

The Cougars (9-18, 3-9 MWC) visit the Huntsman Center this Saturday to play the No. 12 Utes (23-4, 11-1) for the second time this year. If the first meeting/beating between the two schools taught us anything, it’s that nothing short of divine intervention will save the Cougars this weekend.

BYU has lots of young talent on its team, but it doesn’t win many games. The Cougars are currently ranked second to last in the conference standings with a whopping three wins, and they are 2-8 on the road this season.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out whom BYU’s starters are, you aren’t alone. BYU head coach Steve Cleveland has used 17 different starting lineups this year. He must have been hoping some of his youngsters from last year’s highly touted recruiting class would come through for him, but it hasn’t happened.

Last year’s Arizona high school basketball Player of the Year Lee Cummard didn’t even play a game because he went on an LDS mission. He’s already home, but he won’t be donning the Cougar blue this year.

Other top recruits like David Burgess, the 6-foot-10-inch center, and Trent Plaisted, a 6-foot-11-inch forward, are out with injuries. That leaves the 6-foot-11-inch freshman center Chris Miles as the only meaningful contributor from an incoming class that looked as good (and big) as any in the conference.

BYU senior guard Mike Hall is the team leader in scoring with 13.7 points per game, but he is the only Cougar to rank in the top 20 in the conference in scoring.

Sophomore rebounder Austin Ainge (the name says it all) is the Cougars’ second-leading scorer at 9.4 points per game, and he is third in the conference in assists with an average of 3.9.

Not that BYU was going to give Andrew Bogut any trouble on the boards, but the Cougars’ leading rebounder, sophomore forward Keena Young, is out with a broken hand.

The primary intrigue to this game is the fact that it is a rivalry game. U fans will always enjoy a good trouncing, and if BYU played out of its mind, the game might be a good one. Don’t count on it.

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