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BYU's Kyle Collinsworth cringes in pain after an injury during the second half against Gonzaga in an NCAA college basketball game for the West Coast Conference men's tournament title, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, in Las Vegas. Collinsworth left the game and did not return. Gonzaga won 75-64. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
BYU basketball: Will Collinsworth’s injury affect NCAA hopes?
College basketball » Will Collinsworth’s ACL tear affect Cougars’ NCAA Tournament hopes?
First Published Mar 12 2014 07:40 pm • Last Updated Mar 12 2014 10:13 pm

Provo • There are probably college basketball teams out there with worse postseason luck when it comes to injuries and suspensions than the BYU Cougars, but coach Dave Rose’s squad has certainly had more than its share the past five years.

The latest happened Tuesday night with 13 minutes and 42 seconds remaining in the 75-64 loss to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game. Star guard Kyle Collinsworth landed awkwardly in the paint while pursuing a fast break, and crumpled to the ground clutching his right knee.

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BYU said Wednesday night that Collinsworth suffered a torn ACL in his right knee. The news release said Collinsworth is expected to make a full recovery and return to practice in the fall.

It will be interesting to see what effect, if any, the injury will have on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee when it evaluates BYU (23-11) for an at-large bid. Many bracketing experts said the Cougars were in after they beat San Francisco 79-77 in overtime in the semifinals on Monday night.

But the tenor seemed to change a bit after Tuesday’s nationally televised loss, perhaps because of the Collinsworth injury or maybe because of how poorly the Cougars played before the sophomore went down.

They were trailing by 20 when Kyle Dranginis made a layup on that fateful play, but got to within eight points in the final three minutes.

In a teleconference Wednesday, Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman, who is the chairman of the Selection Committee this year, said the committee will take into consideration recent injuries when it hands out bids Sunday. He may have been referring to the BYU case when he said, "We already received a report this morning" about an injury.

"We will follow those injuries. We will get updates on the injuries," Wellman said. "We will be well-aware of the latest information and whether that individual is going to be available to his team during the tournament. It is a discussion point with the committee, the injury reports, how that might impact the team."

Wellman said it is up to each committee member as to how much weight they want to put on a particular injury.

In 2011, after star center Brandon Davies was suspended with two games remaining in the regular season, the Cougars got a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

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The string of postseason setbacks actually started in 2010, when Tyler Haws suffered a serious eye injury his freshman season during the MWC Tournament and sat out of a 70-66 loss to UNLV in the semifinals.

In 2012, leading scorer Noah Hartsock suffered a knee injury that hampered him in the WCC and NCAA tournaments, and last year Haws suffered a concussion before the WCC Tournament and was clearly not himself in a 72-69 quarterfinal loss to San Diego.

Perhaps sending a message to the committee that he believes the Cougars are still worthy of a bid, Rose talked after the game about the Cougars’ "resiliency without Kyle," who averaged 18.0 points, shot 55 percent from the field and grabbed 11.3 rebounds per game in the three tournament games.

"The energy of the guys and the effort, especially trying to cut that deficit, was there," Rose said. "That’s the personality this group has had all year long. But Gonzaga was just too good, and up to the task."

Joe Lunardi released his latest projections Wednesday. He has BYU playing for a 12 seed in a first-round game in Dayton, Ohio. The catch? It could be against the Dayton Flyers.

When it comes to postseason play, that’s just BYU’s luck.


Twitter: @drewjay

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