Story of the Stats: BYU continues to impress against Evansville
Every time I try to bring my expectations of BYU men’s basketball back down to earth, the Cougars go ahead and crank them right back up.
An actual conversation I had with Jackson, my editor, before tip-off:
Jackson: “BYU is a 24.5-point favorite tonight.”
Me: “Really? That seems high. I don’t think they cover that.”
Jackson: “Yeah, I think you’re right.”
*30 minutes later*
Me: “This is why we shouldn’t gamble.”
Was it Evansville? Yes. Did anyone know a college named Evansville existed before tonight? Nope. Is that going to stop me from trying to convince you that this was another spectacular win? Of course not.
Here is tonight’s story of the stats.
8-0: BYU’s record against the spread
BYU’s record is a perfect 8-0 to start the season, but perhaps even more impressive is their record against the spread. Not only is BYU racking up wins, it is doing in dominant fashion night in and night out. Even when favored by massive margins, the Cougars routinely double that margin and then some.
Let’s put it this way: If you put 20 dollars of BYU to cover in everyone one of their games so far, you would have won over 300 dollars so far (It goes without saying that I do not condone gambling). It’s said that good teams cover and if that’s true, then BYU is about as good as it gets in their first eight games.
+46: Trevin Knell’s plus/minus
The fact that while he was on the court, Knell helped the Cougars score 46 more points than the Purple Aces is pretty nuts. Not much to say here other than Knell obviously played a great game. His 13 points was supported by his seven rebounds. The sharp-shooter has improved his defense this season as well, notching the third-best defensive rating tonight.
58.8%: BYU’s free throw percentage
If your own pessimism couldn’t bring you down from this BYU basketball high, this stat might help. As great of a shooting team as they’ve been, the Cougars have a little bit free throw problem. The worst part is, some of the biggest culprits are guys you would expect to hit their free throws. Keep an eye on this stat when we eventually see a game where BYU looks human again.
6th: BYU’s KenPom ranking
6th in KenPom is good enough for third in the Big 12 (6th in the country and you’re only the third best in your conference. Madness) and best ever in BYU history. It’s important to keep in mind that KenPom is not an opinion, but a statistical ranking. It is one of the four metrics used by the NCAA to determine who gets into the tournament. Other metrics rank the Cougars even higher, but KenPom is one of the most reliable and trusted sources out there.
With that being said, BYU’s season has been masterfully scheduled to their benefit and it is obviously showing. The stats are beautiful but skewed just a touch due to the ease of schedule the Cougars have enjoyed. It’s important to remember that this will change, and BYU will eventually come down to earth. But where’s the fun in that?
Chase covers BYU football & basketball. Follow him on X: @@chase_rogers0