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What you need to know: BYU vs. Weber State (b-ball edition)

This Friday BYU will take on Weber State in the Cougars season opener. The Cougars are looking to extend their dominance over the Wildcats while kicking off what could be another special season.

Matt Carlino drives the lane against Baylor
Matt Carlino drives the lane against Baylor

The History

BYU and Weber State have met 38 times in a basketball series that started in 1973. Of the 38 games, the Cougars have won 28, while the Wildcats have only won 10. This year the game will be the home and season opener for the Cougars and will start off a year that is expected to be exciting and spectacular.

Ogden, UT 2012 (38-10)

Last December the Cougars went up to the Dee Events center to try and put an end to the Wildcats 20 game home winning streak. It wouldn’t be easy and both teams fought hard. Brandon Davies ended the game with 33 points and eight rebounds. Tyler Haws added 23 points and six rebounds to lead the Cougars on a late run to put BYU up 65-50 with six minutes to play. The win for the Cougars ended the Wildcats streak and was also the first road win for the Cougars. Haws ended up hitting 10-10 from the free throw line, as well as scoring nine points in the last five minutes in the game.

The Outlook

With two exhibition games completed, questions still remain on how good this team can be. Because of the inferior competition, Dave Rose used the games to play a number of different combinations and lineups. With a step up in competition starting Friday, it shouldn’t be long before we get to see who the Cougars are and who they can become.

The Positives

True freshman Eric Mika was the obvious positive that came out of the pre-season. Granted it was against lesser schools, but he showed that he can make plays and that he will go after the ball. If he can continue his progression against the tougher teams, he could be a special player on a special team.

Another positive was the rebounding. The Cougars dominated the boards, as they should have, and this led to second chance points, defensive stops, and a number of fast break opportunities.

The Negatives

The three point shooting was miserable in the exhibition games. In the first game they shot a combined 38 percent and then followed it up with a 13% outing. So far the team is 8-31 behind the arc with Matt Carlino hitting 2-9 and Tyler Haws 1-2. In order to spread the defense, the Cougars need to start hitting their shots from the outside.

The struggles of Tyler Haws may be temporary but they were obvious in the first two games. He has started 9-22 and is averaging 13.5 points a game. This shouldn’t be too worrisome as these numbers were achieved in limited minutes, but he will need to start playing at a higher level come Friday.

The Match-ups

The most interesting match-up of the game could be at the center position. BYU doesn’t have a true center as both Mika and Nate Austin are listed as forwards in the current system. They will match up against centers/forwards that are as big, if not bigger, then them. Senior Kyle Tresnak will lead the bigs for Weber State and comes in at 6-10 and 250 lbs. It is yet to be seen if he will throw around his extra weight to create space inside, but Mika should be able to handle him athletically. A big question in this match-up is the experience. How Mika comes into the game mentally and facing experience on the other side will be interesting to follow.

The Keys to Watch

When Weber State has the ball: Look for the team to share the ball. In the Wildcats win over Adams State, WSU had five players score in double digits. It appears that the Wildcats have already started setting their rotation as six players played at least 20 minutes with another just missing at 19. Four others played but logged only eight, five, one, and one minutes respectively. Look for the Cougars to play tight on their man and try to force shots. The Cougars have done a bit better on guarding the three point shot but they can’t leave men open to shoot.

When BYU has the ball: Look for Carlino, Haws, and Kyle Collinsworth to take the majority of the shots. These three are shooters and love to put the ball up. Mika will get his fair share of shots but some will come off rebounds and not set plays. If Carlino can hit a few shots early, look for him to put up big numbers before the night is done. The Cougars will try to keep the game up tempo and if they continue to rebound the ball, this will lead to fast breaks and a faster pace game. WSU will have to try and slow the game down. If they can’t control the tempo the bench will have to play a larger role and this is not to their advantage. BYU will wear them down if it turns into a track meet.

Interesting Tidbit

Current Weber State head coach Randy Rahe has a winning percentage of 66 percent since joining the Wildcats in 2006. Of the 46 coaching changes in 2006, Rahe has the 3rd most wins (139) and has a conference winning percentage of 79. For an in-depth glance at Coach Rahe, read the story here.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 7:00 PM MST

Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah



Radio(BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143

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