BYU's potential Final Four chances were dealt a significant blow when starting forward Brandon Davies was dismissed Tuesday from the team for the remainder of the season for a violation of the school's honor code.
The sophomore was a vital member of BYU's frontcourt and was instrumental in helping contain San Diego State's forwards during the Cougars' 80-67 victory at a sold-out Viejas Arena on Saturday. Davies, who started 26 of 29 games for the Cougars, averaged 11.1 points and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds.
BYU released a statement Tuesday night that the university became aware of the violation of the honor code Monday. The school said in the release that since the violation just occurred, decisions on Davies' future with the team and in school are still undetermined.
School officials said coach Dave Rose would address the issue following Wednesday's game against New Mexico.
Davies was one of Jimmer Fredette's favorite targets in the post, ran the floor well and gave the Cougars length and size inside.
BYU (27-2, 13-1 in the MWC) is ranked No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and was put on the No. 1 seed line out West in Joe Lunardi's latest bracketology on ESPN.com Monday.
Davies played 27 minutes in the win over the Aztecs, scoring four points and grabbing six boards and coming up with one block. Davies was capable of breakout performances on a team led by the national player of the year favorite in Fredette.
Davies scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds in a win over Wyoming in Laramie on Feb. 2. Davies, a 6-foot-9 forward, had two key double-doubles for the Cougars at UNLV (15 points, 10 rebounds) and against Colorado State (14 points, 15 rebounds).
Davies was a prized local recruit for the Cougars, playing in Provo, Utah.
Davies' departure means the Cougars will have to make a major adjustment inside with 6-8 Stephen Rogers and seldom-used 6-10 James Anderson. The move means Rose might have to shift to the 6-5 Charles Abouo to power forward and go with a smaller lineup.
According to a member of the BYU basketball staff, the plan is likely to go small and continue to push the tempo to exploit BYU's ability to run and get more shots for Fredette.
San Diego State coach Steve Fisher called the Cougars one of the best running teams in the country and now, without Davies, the Cougars will likely try to be even more effective on the break. The problem is that Davies ran the court exceptionally well for BYU as a big.
"It's unfortunate. I feel bad for BYU," Fisher said.
"Wow," said San Diego State forward Malcolm Thomas, who wasn't aware of the dismissal until told by reporters after the Aztecs' victory Tuesday at Wyoming. "He's a big-time player, and without him, they're still a good team. They're still going to make a run."
The Cougars do have more of a face-up shooting forward in Noah Hartsock, who may have to go inside even more now that Davies isn't on the roster. Jackson Emery, a shooter, will be called upon to rebound more effectively, as well.
The Cougars were already down a big man when Chris Collinsworth was lost for the season with a knee injury in mid-January.
BYU wraps up its regular season against Wyoming on Saturday.
Senior writer Andy Katz covers men's college basketball for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.