- Associated Press - Thursday, March 3, 2011

PROVO, UTAH (AP) - Zero is the number 6-foot-9 forward Brandon Davies wore before being booted off BYU’s team this week for breaking the school’s honor code.

Does it now also represent the odds the third-ranked Cougars have of making a deep run in the NCAA tournament?

Signs in the arena insisted “We Believe” while others reminded opponents that “We Still Have Jimmer.”

But player of the year candidate Jimmer Fredette can only do so much.

If anything, Wednesday night’s lopsided loss to New Mexico showed that, and further exposed something BYU critics have been saying all year _ that the Cougars don’t have enough power up front to be considered among the very best teams in the country.

Before Davies was dismissed from the team Tuesday for having premarital sex, according to reports in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Cougars ranked seventh in the Mountain West Conference in rebounds allowed.

On Wednesday without Davies, they were outrebounded 45-29, including 33-22 on the defensive boards.

“We wanted to go inside,” Lobos coach Steve Alford admitted after Wednesday’s 82-64 victory, the second straight over the Cougars this season. “(Davies) has been very, very big for them all year. He’s very skilled and he’s very talented … that’s a tremendous loss, so we just wanted to make sure that we went inside as much as possible.”

The Lobos won’t be the only one.

BYU might get by in the early rounds of next week’s Mountain West Conference tournament, where the Cougars still can earn a No. 1 seed with a win Saturday over Wyoming.

But if they have to face San Diego State again? Or in the NCAAs, where depth often is key?

“It’s still a week or two away, all the postseason stuff,” small forward Charles Abouo said.

Still, coach Dave Rose admitted the team has to regroup following the shocking turnaround since the win over San Diego State and rise to No. 3 in the land.

The body language on display Wednesday night indicated it may take some time.

Senior guard Jackson Emery could be seen kicking a chair, and Fredette spent the final few minutes at the end of the bench with his chin buried in his chest.

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