BYU Basketball: What can we really expect without Yoeli Childs?
With Yoeli Childs being out for the first nine games, what can BYU Basketball fans expect from the team?
Last week, the NCAA decided to come down on Yoeli Childs for violating rules related to the draft and coming back to play for BYU Basketball. If you want to ready my thoughts on that click here.
With Yoeli Childs gone, the question becomes, what can the Cougars do without him and what does it do to their chances to making the NCAA Tournament?
The 2019 schedule is not completely out yet, there have been reports by other schools or by BYU of the following games happening for sure:
11/25-11/27 3 games in Maui Invitational (first game versus UCLA)
11/30 likely Weber State
It appears that the game against UCLA will be the key. If the Cougars can get past them, they will be set up for a game against Kansas, an almost automatic loss without Yoeli Childs, before playing probably either Michigan State or Dayton in the third place game. The good thing about this is, it would provide BYU Basketball with a decent win over UCLA, a good loss against Kansas and a shot at another good win/acceptable loss against MSU or Dayton. A loss would give BYU an acceptable loss versus UCLA, a bad win against Chaminade and then a 6th place game against Georgia or Virginia Tech (barring an upset)
Other games that stick out are San Diego State, Houston, and Weber State. Even with Yoeli Childs, Houston and SDSU would have been tough and Weber State is a sneaky good team. The Cougars can't go 0-3 or even 1-2 in these games and expect to be setting up for an NCAA at-large bid.
Yoeli Childs is undoubtedly the most important player on the team next season. Without him, players like Kolby Lee, Dalton Nixon and Gavin Baxter will have to play the strong forward and cause guards like Zac Seljaas and Connor Harding to come down and play the four, a position that neither player plays best at.
It also means that if Baxter and Lee, both players with limited playing time, get in foul trouble, the post may not be guarded very well forcing an inside zone by the Cougars which would give up offensive rebounds and open three pointers.
On the bright side, the Cougars can have a very fast team and up to five shooters on the floor at one time.
There is going to be a loss somewhere that wouldn't have happened otherwise. Whether that is San Diego State, Weber State or UCLA there will be at least one game where the Cougars are unable to stay out of foul trouble and drop a game.
There is still a lot of talent on this team, and they can score a lot points which is a huge benefit as opposed to if they were going to rely on their defense. Teams that aren't offensive teams like San Diego State (ranked 205th in 2018) and Boise State (190th) could feel a minimal difference without Childs in the game.
Overall, I project that the Cougars will be able to go 6-3 without Childs with wins again Cal State Fullerton, San Diego State, Southern Utah, Boise State, UCLA and Weber State and losses against Houston, Kansas and the third place team in the Maui Invitational.
The schedule isn't official yet, and perhaps the Cougars can get two or three more early games against D2/lower D1 teams allowing Childs to play in a game like Weber State or a late Maui Invitation game.
Or the NCAA could get common sense... That would work as well.