Brigham Young Cougars
Why they're good
Any time you go against BYU, you'd better be able to guard because Dave Rose's teams play fast and score with a chemistry on the floor. This season's team has seven guys playing double-figure minutes and gets contributions from up to nine guys on a given night. The Cougars average 78 points per game, which ties them for first in the West Coast Conference with Gonzaga and ranks fourth nationally.
They don't shoot well from the field, but they do from the free throw line. The Cougars make 72.9 of their attempts from the stripe, tops in the West Coast Conference. They also do a good job protecting the ball, turning it over only 12 times per game. This is despite playing at the ninth-fastest pace in Division I and the fastest in the WCC.
From a defensive standpoint, the Cougars are very strong. BYU ranks first in the conference and in the top 20 nationally for steals per game at 9.1. BYU also rebounds 72.6 percent of opponents' misses, second in the WCC.
What they need to do better
The Cougars have trouble shooting from 3-point range, hitting only 33.3 percent of their attempts. In essence, the Cougars are a solid team this season but don't have the ability to hang with the nation's best teams.
Why they could be great next season
The Cougars have a very good five-man recruiting class coming in next season (it currently ranks 15th in the country). It's not totally clear which of the freshmen will play right away, but as of right now it looks as though Nick Emery, Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw will do their two-year missions right away and not play until 2015 while Eric Mika and Luke Worthington will play as freshmen.
Mika is the hidden gem in this group. At 6-foot-9, he's an athletic, bouncy big man who runs, finishes and can score in one-on-one situations. He is a strong rebounder who can play solid defense and protect the rim.
In addition to the incoming freshmen, guard Kyle Collinsworth -- 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds in 25.7 minutes a night in 2010-11 -- returns from his two-year mission next season. His return, and the arrival of at least some of the freshmen, will help minimize the losses of forward Brandon Davis (18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds) and guards Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick. Those three combine for 37.6 percent of BYU's points this season.
Because they have guard Tyler Haws' 21.2 points per game returning and strong recruits joining an already potent offense, BYU will be better from almost every spot on the floor next season. They will have many weapons and a chance to be great in 2013-14.