BYU loses Kyle Collinsworth for NCAA Tournament game vs. Oregon Ducks

BYU loses Kyle Collinsworth for NCAA Tournament game vs. Oregon Ducks
March 16, 2014, 7:15 pm

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Oregon Ducks forward Elgin Cook (23) watches Oregon Ducks guard Joseph Young (3) defends as Brigham Young Cougars guard Kyle Collinsworth (5) dribbles the ball at Matthew Knight Arena.

(Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports)

The Oregon Ducks received a measure of respect when they were given a No. 7-seed in the West Region of the NCAA Tournament.

Given that they won eight-of-nine games to salvage their season and had both a strong RPI and strength of schedule seemingly sat well with the selection committee.

A gift could have come in the form of UO's opponent.

Oregon (23-9) will face No. 10-seed BYU (23-11) Thursday in the first round of the tournament and the Cougars will be minus one of their best players, guard Kyle Collinsworth.

The Ducks defeated BYU 100-96 in overtime on Dec. 21. In that game, Collinsworth had 15 points, eight assists and five rebounds.

BYU will be without 6-foot-6 guard for the remainder of the postseason after he injured his right knee while playing defense in the second half of the WCC championship game Tuesday against Gonzaga. Collinsworth came down awkwardly on his right knee, teaming his ACL. BYU lost 75-64.

Collinsworth is BYU’s second-leading scorer (14.1), and he leads the team in rebounds (8.1) and assists (4.6).

UO coach Dana Altman said he didn't see a clear advantage for his Ducks with Collinsworth sidelined. He said BYU not having Collinsworth might not impact  the team much for one game.

“Whoever is backing him up is really excited about the opportunity,” Altman said.

BYU coach David Rose told the Deseret News that his team would find a way to play without one of its leaders.

“You saw the resilience of our team without Kyle,” Rose said. “Our guys fought really hard. We weren’t as efficient as we’ve been, but our guys were battling.”

Playing without Collinsworth might be easier said than done. BYU’s offense is built upon great ball movement and Collinsworth is the team’s best playmaker in terms of creating for teammates.

Without him, it’s conceivable that the team’s offense could hit more rough patches than it’s used to, which certainly would help Oregon’s cause.