In the second round of the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic, BYU will travel to Kansas City, Missouri to face Texas tonight. The winner of the BYU vs. Texas game will then face the winner of tonight's second game, DePaul vs. #12 Wichita State, in the championship game tomorrow. The losers of each game with also face off tomorrow in the consolation game.
The Cougars put up a fight at home against the 21st ranked Iowa State Cyclones but were unable to pull out the upset. The team played well but couldn't capitalize on the little things that would have led them to a victory. The Cougars showed that they are good enough to play with a top 25 caliber team, but now have to prove they can beat these teams.
The Cougars played well enough to put up 88 points against the Cyclones and did it with four players scoring in double digits. Tyler Haws led the way with 20, Matt Carlino added 19 while Eric Mika and Kyle Collinsworth ended with 17 and 11. The cougars were able to spread the ball around at one point had a 12 point lead.
Mika was able to stay out of foul trouble and made his presence known from the beginning. He shot over 50 percent from the field and had nine rebounds to add to his points. He played hard up until the injury and was able to provide some breathing room for the shooters. The Cougars will need to have Mika back in order to make it through the tournament unscathed and so all eyes will be on the test results until then.
In scoring the 88 points the Cougars shot less than 29 percent from the three point line as they went 4-14. Haws went 1-3, Carlino hit 1-5 and Winder went 1-3. When the cougars take that many shots, they need to hit a higher percentage to win the games.
Free throw shooting again haunted the Cougars as they shot only 60 percent on 12-20. Haws upped his percentage by going 7-8 but Mika went 1-4, Bartley went 0-2 and Winder went 1-2. Key misses could have tied the score or put them ahead late in the game. Don't be surprised if Rose makes the guys work even harder on free throw shooting.
The Keys to Watch
When Texas has the ball: Look for the Longhorns to get the ball into the hands of sophomore Jonathan Holmes. Holmes is averaging 15 points per game along with six rebounds and two blocks. The player getting him the ball will be the second leading scorer, guard Javan Felix. Felix is averaging almost 14 points per game along with four rebounds and two turnovers. The ball will be spread out among others as Texas has five players averaging in double digits. Texas has yet to face any really strong competition so it will be interesting to see how they decide to pace the game against the Cougars, as well as if they tighten the rotation as 10 players are seeing at least 10 minutes of action per game.
When DePaul has the ball: If the Cougars end up playing DePaul in the final round, watch for the Blue Demons to lean heavily on their two senior stars and leading scorers. Forward Cleveland Melvin is averaging 19 points while pulling down seven rebounds and a blocked shot. He is shooting 62% from the field and 80% from the free-throw line. Not only can he play inside, he is averaging almost 67% from the three point line, going 12-18. Guard Brandon Young is a great compliment to Melvin and will try and spread the ball around. He is averaging almost 16 points per game along with five rebounds and almost five assists. Young can be tough on the defensive end as well as he has averaged two steals per game. Watch for the Cougars to try and rattle Young a bit as he can be careless with the ball with just over four turnovers per game. The Cougars may hang back off him as long as he is beyond the arc since he hasn't yet found his stroke, only hitting 3-11. Look for the BYU big men to go after the rebounds. The Cougars have the height advantage and need to use it in both offense and defensive rebounds.
When Wichita State has the ball: If the Cougars end up playing Wichita State, they will be facing another ranked team and one that had a great tournament run last year. The Shockers have a number of upperclassmen including senior forward Cleanthony Early. Early is one of three players averaging over ten points per game while pulling down just over seven rebounds a game. The shockers are not prone to turnovers so if the Cougars are going to create them, they will have to force most of them out of Early as he is averaging just over two of the teams ten turnovers. Sophomore guard Fred VanVleet will join Ron Baker in dishing the ball to the other shooters but are averaging more than 14 and 12 points. VanVleet has an average of almost six assists per game while Baker is just over four a game. VanVleet also has a nose for the ball as he intercepts almost three steals per game. Watch for the Cougars to keep the ball out of the hands of VanVleet and baker and force the other players to make the extra pass. The Shockers have quite a bit of depth as nine players average over 14 minutes a game and to wearing down will be less of an issue against this team.
When BYU has the ball: When the Cougars have the ball watch for them to continue to press and push the pace. On average a Cougar possession lasts just over 12 seconds but are only averaging around 12 turnovers. With the ability to take a shot with most possessions, BYU will need to take advantage of these shot opportunities and spread the defenses across the court. As the extra pass is made, the lanes will open up for Haws and Carlino. Watch for Mika and Austin to crash the boards and create second chance opportunities.
The CBE Hall of Fame Classic is an event that is named after the College Basketball Experience. The College Basketball Experience is an interactive college basketball facility that is adjacent to the Sprint Center that features the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. This event was initially established in 2001 as the Guardians Classic but has since been renamed to the current name. For full details on this tournament click here.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 5:30 PM MST, TBA
Where: Sprint Center-Kansas City, MO
TV: ESPNU, ESPN2 or ESPNU
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here