Provo • Three days after recording the biggest regular-season win in program history, a win over San Diego State that propelled the BYU basketball team to a No. 3 national ranking and into serious consideration for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars' postseason hopes were dealt a devastating blow.
Starting center Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team on Tuesday because he ran afoul of the school's strict honor code.
BYU announced in a terse news release that Davies, a 6-foot-9 sophomore from Provo High, "will not represent the university on the men's basketball team throughout the remainder of the 2010-11 season" because of a "violation of the BYU Honor Code."
Among other things, the code forbids premarital sex, the use of alcohol and illegal drugs, and cheating on schoolwork.
School spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said Tuesday night that the school does not release details regarding violations of the code. She said the Honor Code Office of the university owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints became aware of the violation on Monday and that a review is under way.
"Some decisions regarding Brandon's future on the basketball team and his status as a student are yet to be determined," Jenkins said.
Davies did not return phone calls and text messages on Tuesday evening seeking comment.
Jenkins said that to her knowledge, no other BYU student-athletes were involved in the violation. Asked if the dismissal had anything to do with Davies' academic standing, she said, "No. This is a violation of the honor code."
Davies started in 26 of 27-2 BYU's 29 games and was averaging 11.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. In Saturday's nationally televised 80-67 win over then-No. 6 SDSU, Davies had four points, six rebounds and three assists in 27 minutes of action.
Through a basketball department spokesperson, coach Dave Rose said he would not comment on the situation until after Wednesday night's 8 p.m. game against New Mexico at the Marriott Center.
Davies could be replaced in the starting lineup by backup center James Anderson, a junior, or Rose could go with a smaller lineup that includes moving starting power forward Noah Hartsock to the center position and starting a player such as Logan Magnusson, Kyle Collinsworth or Stephen Rogers.
Davies is the second high-profile BYU athlete to run afoul of the honor code in the past two years. Running back Harvey Unga was dismissed from school a year ago for a violation, which caused him to miss his senior season.
That news came during the offseason, allowing the football team to prepare for the loss of its all-time leading rusher.
News of Davies' dismissal could not have come at a worse time for the basketball team, which is having the best season in school history and hoping for a run at the Final Four.
The Cougars need one more win to clinch the regular-season Mountain West Conference title and the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament in Las Vegas.
How the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee will view the loss of Davies when it hands out tournament seeds a week from Sunday is unclear, but there is precedent for dropping a team a couple of spots when it loses a star player late in the season. That happened in 2000 when Cincinnati's Kenyon Martin suffered a season-ending injury.
NCAA Tournament bracketing expert Joe Lunardi said Tuesday that the selection committee "would not drop BYU because of the Davies suspension unless/until the Cougars play worse without him. It is not assumed."
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @drewjay
No. 3 BYU at New Mexico
P At the Marriott Center, Provo
Tipoff • 8 p.m.
TV • The Mtn.
Radio • 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
Records • BYU 27-2, 13-1; New Mexico 18-11, 6-8
Series history • BYU leads 74-54
Last meeting • New Mexico, 86-77 (Jan. 29, 2011)
Other games Wednesday
• Lewis-Clark State at Westminster, 7 p.m.
• Eastern Washington at Weber State, 8:05 p.m.
• Dixie State at Chaminade, 10:30 p.m.
• Colorado State at Utah, 7 p.m.
• Dixie State at Chaminade, 8:30 p.m.