The 2010-2011 season will go down as quite possibly the best ever for the BYU men's basketball program. It will almost certainly be the most memorable, between the nightly displays of breathtaking scoring from Jimmer Fredette, the dismissal of Brandon Davies and the Cougars rising to national prominence like never before.
The Cougars have qualified for their fifth straight NCAA Tournament, but unlike the last four years in which BYU has landed as either a No. 7 or No. 8 seed, a top slot is in the cards this time around. Even with the loss of an interior presence like Davies, BYU still has an excellent chance to advance beyond the second round for the first time since 1971.
Record: 30-4 (14-2)
Key Wins: 71-58 vs San Diego State, Jan. 26th, 80-67 at San Diego State, February 26th: Who could have expected that BYU's most impressive wins this season would have come against a conference foe? The first time around with the Aztecs was important beyond just the simple matter of beating another highly ranked team, on that day, the Mountain West Conference was the center of the college basketball universe in a way it never has been before. The second meeting a month later solidified the Cougars as the top of the heap in the MWC. Of course, that was all before Davies ran into trouble.
Key Losses: 82-64 vs New Mexico, March 2nd: Call it bad timing, call it outside distractions, but this game had a lot of BYU fans hitting the panic button. In the first game following the dismissal of Brandon Davies, the Cougars were blown out at home by an inferior Lobos team. The team has since recovered, ending the season with a 102-78 thrashing of Wyoming, but at the time this loss looked like it had the potential to cause the season to unravel.
Key Player: Jimmer Fredette, Senior, Guard: Everything that can be said about the nation's leading scorer has already been said. Fredette is the front runner for national player of the year honors, has taken every team's best shot and still turned in jaw dropping performance, after jaw dropping performance. If there was any question at all about just how good he has been at the college level just backtrack six weeks to mid-January when Fredette had three 40-point games in a 15-day stretch, the lone "off" game was a 21-point effort in a win versus TCU.
Need a printable NCAA bracket to fill out for the tournament? Download SB Nation's March Madness Bracket.