Before a review of today’s team in issue 3 of OtR, let’s review how the previous 2 OtR picks have fared in their next game, just to establish some credibility.
Week 1: Troy St. Next game: Lost to a D2 team who had won like 6 games the year before and had to hitchhike to the game.
Week 2: Portland. Next game: Lost to Duke. By 41 points. Shot 3-28 (10%) in the first half.
This weeks entry features a BYU team led by Steve Cleveland. Seven years ago he was called in to rebuild a program that was coming off one of the worst seasons any team in a semi-major conference has ever had. But each year since then, BYU seems to have improved every year under Cleveland (except for a step back 2 years ago). Yet they have never accomplished any more than they deserved. They’ve never been ranked during the last four years in which they avaraged about 22 wins a year. They haven’t won a game in the NCAA tourney either. They haven’t had a game that propelled them into the national limelight. This year is no different. Save for a one-point loss at Cal in their second game, they would be getting some attention. As it is, they need to leapfrog 7 teams to get a ranking in the AP poll. But they are a top 25 team.
BYU is not only lead by an experienced core of seniors, but they are really experienced. 5 seniors get significant playing time: 4 of them are 23, and one is 25. The one making the difference this year is 6-11 Rafael Araujo:
Araujo 2002-03 (PPG/RPG/FG%/MinPG): 12.0/ 8.9/55.8/25.1 Araujo 2003-04 (PPG/RPG/FG%/MinPG): 21.8/11.8/63.8/27.0
His playing time really hasn’t changed, but the production has. Last year, Araujo would disappear for entire games. This year, he busted out 32 pts. and 17 rebs. in a win over Oklahoma State. BYU is more than Araujo. Heck, their lineup is filled with guys who are old enough to be 5 year vets in the NBA. Maybe this is the year they get some attention.