With just two weeks to go until the NCAA Tournament begins, it's not an ideal time to make major lineup changes for college basketball teams jockeying for seeding. But after Brandon Davies was dismissed from the BYU basketball team on Tuesday, head coach Dave Rose will have to get creative in an effort to keep the Cougars' hopes of a deep March Madness alive.
Davies was, by percentage of possessions used and percentage of shots taken, the second-biggest part of the BYU offense behind Jimmer Fredette. His free throw rate (free throws attempted over field goals attempted) was easily the highest on the team -- a ridiculous 63.0. His defensive rebounding percentage (16.8 percent) was among the team's best and his offensive rebound percentage (9.8 percent) was the highest among qualified contributors. Not only will his presence on the offensive end -- where he was the best post option for Fredette and the Cougars -- be missed, but his ability to crash the glass leaves BYU with a significant hole ahead of March Madness.
Now that he's gone, Rose has some tough decisions to make in replacing Davies. Swapping big-for-big is nearly impossible with the rest of the BYU front-line lacking in experience and missing the scoring ability Davies had. Stephen Rogers, a 6-foot-8 195 pound sophomore, and James Anderson, a 6-foot-10 235 pound freshman, are the only options left after Davies' suspension and Chris Collinsworth's season-ending knee injury.
Rose is in a bad spot and will have to lean even more heavily on Fredette and Jackson Emery while hoping Noah Hartsock can step into the low-post and fill the void the Davies leaves. According to one report, Rose may be planning to go small and try to run teams out of the gym, using Fredette's scoring prowess and the Cougars' ability to go small to wear teams out.
But with little time left before the postseason, Davies' unexpected honor code violation hits the Cougars hard in what looked to be a promising season. The world isn't over by any means for BYU, but Rose has an uphill battle on his hands.
For more on the suspension, check out the rest of our StoryStream. To commiserate with BYU fans, check out SB Nation's Vanquish the Foe.