After the way I lit into the BYU men’s basketball team after the loss in the West Coast Conference tournament title game, you might be surprised that I’m pretty proud of how the Cougars played in the NCAA second-round loss to Oregon Thursday afternoon.
Without their most complete player, BYU battled on the boards, its shot selection was solid overall and it hung tough with the Ducks for three quarters of the game.
Yes, I know the Cougars fell apart down the stretch and got blown out, 87-68, but I thought BYU did some really nice things, things they can build on.
That’s what this was about the whole time, in my opinion.
Even though the Cougars had some solid showings against good teams earlier this year, this wasn’t a team that was going to make much of a run in the tournament. It was far too streaky, had far too many holes in its game and didn’t have enough depth for that type of performance.
But with no seniors and freshman Eric Mika as possibly the only guy who won’t be on the floor next season, this experience could be invaluable for BYU looking toward 2014-15.
If the Cougars want to avoid another loss on the first Thursday (which has been BYU’s fate in eight of its last 10 appearances), they have to buckle down and zero in on improving some specific things.
Scroll through the slideshow to see my Top 5 things the Cougars must do better next year.