‘We’re just not very good right now’: Reeling BYU faces No. 21 Creighton in Las Vegas
The Cougars have dropped two straight games, while the Bluejays are mired in a losing streak of their own
LAS VEGAS — There’s no way to sugarcoat the position BYU basketball is in right now.
The Cougars, ranked No. 99 in the latest Kenpom.com ratings, have dropped two consecutive games. They lost at a neutral site to No. 246 South Dakota a week ago and then, last Wednesday, suffered a 15-point setback at home to No. 124 Utah Valley.
BYU is hoping to turn things around Saturday (8 p.m., MST, FS1) against Creighton, which is ranked No. 21 in this week’s Associated Press poll.
The Cougars and Bluejays meet in the Jack Jones Hoopfest at Michelob ULTRA Arena. Creighton beat BYU last season, 83-71.
Meanwhile, the Cougars’ troubles have piled up this season.
On the court, the Cougars are committing too many turnovers and allowing opponents to shoot over 50% from 3-point range.
“Our guys are really trying,” Pope said after the humbling 75-60 loss to UVU. “We’re just not very good right now. We’re going to become a good team. We’re just not a very good team right now.”
But the ultimate result was another vexing loss.
“Clearly, we’re searching right now,” Pope said. “We’ve got to keep fighting and battling and come out on the other end and see what we can become.”
It’s not going to be easy for the Cougars to end their losing streak against Creighton.
Just a couple weeks ago, the Bluejays (6-3) were ranked No. 7 in the country. Since then, they’ve dropped three consecutive games against No. 14 Arizona, No. 2 Texas and Nebraska.
Prior to that, Creighton beat No. 21 Texas Tech and No. 9 Arkansas at the Maui Invitational on its way to a 6-0 start.
The Bluejays are led by sophomore guard Ryan Nembhard, who is averaging 12.4 points and 5.6 assists per game, and 7-foot-1 Ryan Kalkbrenner, who is averaging a team-high 15.9 points per game and is shooting 76.3% from the floor.
Even before the season started, Pope said this season would be an adventure. And he’s been right.
But he’s confident that his players will figure things out.
“I really like the upside of this group,” Pope said. “The guys’ hearts and souls are in it. That’s one thing we have going for us.”
Cougars on the air
vs. No. 21 Creighton (6-3)
Saturday, 8 p.m. MST
Michelob Ultra Arena
Radio: BYU Radio/1160 AM