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What you need to know: BYU vs Virginia Tech preview

After a great win against UAB, the Cougars stay home to take on the Hokies.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The History

The BYU Cougars and Virginia Tech Hokies have meet three times on the hardwood and thus far BYU has been perfect. The Cougars and Hokies met for the first time in 1967 and most recently played in 2012. With the Cougars holding the 3-0 lead you can bet the Hokies want this game as badly as any game all year.

Salt Lake City, UT 2012 (97-71)

The most recent meeting between the schools took place in the home of the Utah Jazz and ended up being a one sided affair. The Cougars rode the play of Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies as they built a large lead early and took a 25 point lead into halftime. The Cougars would build the lead up to 30 in the second half before Virginia Tech went on a run and pulled within 18. Once again the Cougars responded and walked away with the 97-71 win. Haws scored 42 points while Davies added 17 in the win.

The Outlook

The Cougars came out strong in the first half against the UAB Blazers and looked to be headed towards an easy win. However, a 21 point halftime lead was decimated in the second half by a determined, and somewhat desperate, Blazers lineup. Only 10 minutes into the game the Cougars lead was cut to four and momentum was firmly on the side of the Blazers. However, the Cougars regrouped and built their lead back up for the 97-79 win.

The Positives

The entire offense stepped up as they made key shots and forced a frantic pace that gave the Cougars the edge. However, once again Kyle Collinsworth stole the show as he recorded another triple double. If you are counting at home that means he has 12 in his career. That is double, yes DOUBLE, what the previous record holders had. So yea, this spot is reserved for KC and KC alone.

The Negatives

The Cougars had a tough start to the second half and went from 21 up to up by four in less than 10 minutes. The shots weren't falling, the Cougars were pressing, and the Blazers were hitting everything. The Cougars withstood the storm without a scratch, but it should never have come that close at any point in the second half. The Cougars can't have lapses like this and continue on through the tournament.

The Keys to Watch

When the Hokies have the ball:

Watch for the Hokies to rely on their three double digit scorers to control the game. Zach LeDay leads them all with over 15 points per game and adds almost eight rebounds per game. Seth Allen adds almost 15 points, three rebounds, and over two assists. Justin Bibbs rounds out the double digit scorers with 12 points per game. Although these three will score the majority of the points, keep your eyes on Justin Robinson who leads the team in assists with almost three per game.

Watch for the Cougars to force outside shots as they try to take advantage of a team that shoots 35% from behind the arc, but 45% from inside it. Watch for the BYU big men to play physical inside and not give up anything easy as they try to turn in any miss by the Hokies into a fast break for the Cougar offense. Although the Cougars don't want foul trouble, they will be willing to put the Hokies to the line as they don't have a stellar free throw shooter on the roster.

When the Cougars have the ball:

Watch for the Cougars to continue to play like they always do, playing inside out and throwing up the three pointers. The Cougars will look to the likes of Chase Fischer and Nick Emery to open up the lanes,, and the paint for Collinsworth and Kyle Davis. Watch for the Cougars to keep the frantic pace they are used to playing in and looking to tire out the Hokies.

Watch for the Hokies to game plan for a much slower pace. Most teams can't keep up with the Cougars and usually fail when they try. The Hokies are coming off an overtime win last night and will be traveling across the country so a fast paced game is not in their favor. Watch for the Hokies to put pressure on the outside shooters and not let any shot go uncontested. Rebounds are a little bit of a struggle for the Hockies so watch for them to focus on getting the defensive rebound and limiting the Cougars second chance points.

The Broadcasting Details

Time:  7:30 MST

Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah

TV: ESPNU

Internet: www.watchespn.com

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

Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here