Dallin Hall needs to be consistent for a deep tournament run

When Dallin Hall plays well, BYU plays well. He needs to show up for the Cougars this postseason.

Dallin Hall lifts for a reverse layup against Oklahoma State
Dallin Hall lifts for a reverse layup against Oklahoma State / Chris Gardner/GettyImages

As we enter Championship week, BYU hopes to make a splash on their conference tournament in preparation for the NCAA Tournament. Stakes will be high and the Cougars will have plenty to prove as the lights get brighter in a win-or-go-home bracket, and every game will be a chance to show the country that BYU belongs with the best names in the country this year.

As Greg Wrubell recently pointed out, BYU is a different team from half to half in recent games. For one half, they'll be on fire. BYU's 3-point barrage is essentially the basketball equivalent of the air raid offense made popular by LaVell Edwards. When it works, there's very little that a defense can do to stop it as the hits just keep coming. As long as BYU is hitting open shots, the ball is constantly moving and good shots are passed up for great shots and an avalanche of points buries the opposing defense. When shots aren't falling, though, it is an ugly display or trying the same thing over and over just praying to remove the lid from the basket.

As Wrubell mentioned, BYU is a different team before and after the halftime break. When they finish strong, they often win, but a weak showing in the second half is the nail in the coffin. The key to fixing this issue before the postseason is simple: find a point of steady production and lean on it when the offensive river meets a dam. Which players can open the floodgates and get the river flowing like normal again?

Watching the recent games, I've made a few observations. 1) Richie Saunders has been fantastic in almost every game. The spark he provides off the bench with his relentless energy and hustle ignites a fire for the rest of the team. 2) Fouss is a force down low; not many big men in the Big 12 can consistently stop him when he's working down low. At the top of the key, he's much less effective in pick and roll plays. 3) Dallin Hall's play varies wildly, but when he's playing well, his team plays well. I want to focus on the last point for this article and dissect what about Hall's game impacts the team around him.

As BYU's point guard, Hall is the face that leads the charge on almost every offensive possession, but he's the facilitator more often than he is the star. He reminds me of when a band's lead singer plays bass or the drums rather than lead guitar. He may be in charge, but he plays a complimentary role to allow his bandmate's talents to shine. Much like a bass player, his role isn't to steal the show--he's responsible for laying a foundation for his teammates to stand on. So how does Hall play the bass, and how does his performance impact his teammates?

I think the most telling stat in this regard is that Hall leads the Cougars in minutes played. He averages 29 minutes per game and leads the team in total minutes. He needs to be on the floor for significant minutes to keep the offensive machine operating. Hall also leads the team in assists and limits turnovers. Hall will protect and distribute the ball--that's what he's out there to do. This is a role that he handles very well, but in the games where BYU is struggling, his offensive production falls off a cliff.

I want to start by comparing his numbers in recent big wins vs his numbers in disappointing performances. I'll look at some key statistics to show how Hall has performed in good games vs. bad games and see if there's any correlation between his numbers and BYU's win column. Since Feb 17's disappointing loss against Oklahoma State, here's how his stats have gone down.

I think the most telling stats here are the averages he posts in wins vs losses in BYU's previous seven games. He scores more efficiently in wins, with a higher points per game average and field goal percentage. He is shooting an ugly 24% in the Cougars' last three losses, compared to 48% in their four wins. Most tellin, though is the number of turnovers he accumulates when the Cougars are down. BYU's offense thrives on ball movement to create open shots, but Hall averages nearly three more turnovers in losses than he does in wins.

Fortunately, though, when Hall plays well, BYU overachieves. Take a look at his turnover numbers in wins against some really tough opponents. He hasn't had more than one turnover in the previous four wins, including a zero-turnover game against Kansas in Lawrence. Ball protection and scoring efficiency peak in winning performances. It's not a stretch to say that Mark Pope's team is heavily reliant on Hall's production in big games.

Keep an eye out for this as the Cougars enter postseason play. Of course, the entire team will need to contribute for a winning effort, and sometimes players just have bad games, but if BYU hopes to compete with teams like Houston, Iowa State, and other teams on their level in March tournaments, Dallin Hall will need to step up and do what he does best: keep the beat, and set up his teammates.

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