If you are not a big fan of college basketball you might not be aware that this year’s BYU team has arguably been its best ever. To crown that achievement their best player is the favorite to win Player of the Year honors (similar to the Heisman Trophy in football). His name is Jimmer Fredette and he leads the nation in scoring with an average of 28.5 pts/game. Behind Jimmer’s scoring the Cougar basketball team ascended to be ranked the 3rd best team at one point in the season. They have a record going into this weekend’s games of 30 wins and 4 losses.
Like most college conferences, BYU’s conference has a season-ending tournament just prior to March Madness (the NCAA Tournament). The Mountain West Conference holds its tournament in Las Vegas each year and sometime ago the idea was hatched to make the 4 hour journey from Southern California to catch a few BYU games in person.
So we bought tickets to the semifinals (held on Friday) and the finals (held on Saturday) and hoped they would win and advance to those rounds…and they did.
We left early Friday morning and made a stop at good ol’ Flo’s Cafe and the Chino Airport (mmm…sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy). We had shopped around quite a bit for hotel rooms before settling on a room at Circus Circus which cost us in excess of $100. One of our few mistakes on the trip. By the end we all agreed we would have rather bitten the bullet and shelled out a few extra bucks for a nicer room. The anti-biotic treatments seem to be working though.
Friday nights basketball game versus New Mexico must have been one of the most exciting sports games I’d ever been to. It doesn’t come close to Kirk Gibson’s homerun in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, but I experienced that in the living room at our house on Vanport. But as far as live events go, I was blown away. It was definitely a BYU crowd and everyone was going nuts as they faced off against a New Mexico team that had given the 2 of their 3 losses up to that point in the season. It was a close game but the Cougars came away with the victory behind 52 points by Jimmer. 52 POINTS!
Did I mention he shot only 1 free throw?
The victory advanced them to the championship game on Saturday against their in-conference nemesis, San Diego State, whose record going into the game was 31-2, both losses coming to the same team…BYU. As fun as Friday’s game was, Saturday’s game was a dud. The BYU team just didn’t show up with energy you’d expect and wasn’t in the game at all.
Nevertheless it was a great weekend and we had a lot of fun.
Before the game on Saturday, Field and I attended the Las Vegas Temple. We also made a quick trip out to Hoover Dam. Have you seen the new bypass bridge over the gorge? Wow. It took our breath away. Dad said it was like seeing something from Star Wars. We wished we had more time to spend at the dam but had to get back for the championship game.
We headed for home right after the Saturday’s championship game with a stop over at the Tommy’s in Barstow. A fun and full couple of days!