Two seasons ago, the Brigham Young University men’s basketball team finished 9-21 and failed to play in a post-season tournament for the first time this decade.
Not surprisingly, the Cougars were picked by the media to finish at the bottom of the conference prior to the start of last season.
Under the guidance of first-year Head Coach Dave Rose, BYU became the second-most improved team in the country with a 24-7 record on its way to placing second in the conference.
Rose was named Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year for his efforts in addition to receiving a bid to the National Invitational Tournament.
A large part of the Cougars’ turnaround was the play of last season’s MWC Freshman of the Year, Trent Plaisted.
The sophomore from San Antonio, Texas, led his team in scoring and rebounding last year.
Rose has his team headed in the right direction again this season – the Cougars won of eight of their past nine games and are in second place in the conference.
BYU brings the MWC’s top-scoring offense to Fort Collins on Saturday to battle the Rams in Moby Arena at 3:35 p.m.
Rose’s team has proved to be very balanced thus far.
Along with scoring 78 points per game, the Cougars are also one of the conference’s best defensive teams.
BYU leads the MWC in defensive field goal percentage, holding its opponents to less than 42 percent.
The Rams must play better than they did on Wednesday at TCU in order to earn their third conference win of the season.
With a victory, and a loss by Air Force on Saturday, the Rams could find themselves atop the conference.
Players and coaches were unavailable for comment on Thursday because of travel.
Men’s basketball beat writer Sean Star can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.