So what happened?
Actually, the same thing that always happens when we play upper-echelon teams: BYU failed to adjust, and they lost control. Michigan State obviously had a pow-wow in the locker room, adjusted their game, and completely stifled BYU in the second half. BYU, on the other hand, failed to switch up their game. What happens when one team adjusts and the other team stays the same? Bingo- exactly what happened on Saturday.
Watching the game on Saturday was just like watching UCLA last year, UNLV during the MWC championship game, and even UNC earlier this season. It happens all the time: Opposing teams are surprised by BYU's speed and sharp-shooting, and BYU starts out strong. Then in half time the other teams change it up, while BYU thinks the same old formula will work. Guess what? It doesn't work.
Dave Rose: you're a great guy, but you got outcoached.
The exception? Louisville. That was possibly the best 40 minutes BYU has ever played. They started strong, and they finished strong. If we would have done that every game this year, we'd be undefeated and in the top ten.
I guess Saturday was so frustrating because we saw BYU play at its best, and then we saw BYU come out in the second half and completely struggle. Remember how quickly our 10 point lead disappeared? Ouch.
One more thing: Do you know how valuable free throws are? For some reason, BYU coaches haven't figured it out. I love 'em, but BYU players just can't seem to hit their free throws. Sam Burgess, for instance, missed the frontside of a HUGE 1-and-1 free throw, and Trent Plaisted left at least 7 points on the floor with missed free throws. What does this mean exactly? If BYU hits their free throws, we win the game.
Michigan State, on the other hand, made every free throw that mattered. They were automatic.
Oh what I would give for a free throw shooter who was automatic.