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What you need to Know: BYU vs Utah (Basketball Edition)

Saturday night will mark the 255th meeting between the Cougars and Utes in men's basketball. BYU will look to continue the their dominance in their last 10 games, winning 9 of the 10, against a team that is starting to give fans a reason to cheer for their Utes.

Dave Rose lifts the Deseret First Dual trophy
Dave Rose lifts the Deseret First Dual trophy
Douglas C. Pizac-USA Today Sport

The History

Saturday night the BYU-Utah rivalry will move to the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. The two teams have met 254 times with BYU holding the edge 129-125. The series started in 1909 and has continued to be hard fought in the games since. Right now the Cougars have the upper hand with only one loss in the last 10 meetings.

Salt Lake City, UT 2009

In the only Cougars loss in the last 10 meetings, it took overtime for the Utes to overcome Lee Cummard's 23 points and Jimmer Fredette's 21 points. In a game that had 10 ties and 10 lead changes, neither team was able to score on their last possession of regulation and ended up tied 71-71 going into overtime. With Utah dominating the overtime 23-17, the Utes ended a two game slump to the Cougars in Salt Lake.

Salt Lake City, UT 2011

The last time the Cougars visited the Huntsman Center, the Cougars won in a low scoring 61-42 game. Noah Hartsock led BYU with 19 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks. With offenses struggling, the two teams only combined for 13 points in the first eight minutes of the game. BYU shot better in the second half but continued to press defensively as they kept Utah under 27 percent shooting for the game, and only 33 percent for the second half.

Provo, UT 2012

When the teams met last year, the Cougars trailed most of the game and had to make a comeback to win 61-58. The Cougars never led by more than three points and a Utah three point shot, with 16 seconds left in the game, went awry. Matt Carlino led the Cougars with 19 points, five assists, and three steals. Tyler Haws added 14 and Brandon Davies added 11. With the win the Cougars Men's Basketball team has won the Deseret First Duel trophy every year since the Duel began in 2007-08.

The Outlook

After a spectacular shooting performance, the Cougars look to continue their success against their rivals. Based on the competition level of the Panthers, the Cougars did what they were supposed to. However, nobody expected them to shoot the way they did. If the shots continue to fall, the Cougars will be hard to beat.

The Positives

The Cougars three point shooting took a step forward against the Panthers as the team hit 10 of their 14 three point attempts. A nice surprise was the 4-6 three-points shooting from Tyler Haws and the 3-3 from Anson Winder. When the team finds their three point shot, the Cougars put up points quickly and teams have a hard time keeping up.

After a horrible defensive performance against UMass, the Cougars needed a solid performance against Prairie View. That is just what they accomplished as they kept the Panthers to 29 percent shooting and 14 percent from behind the arc. Not only did they have 13 steals, but they forced 20 turnovers and doubled up the Panthers in defensive rebounds. Another game like that could go a long way in creating the defensive confidence that is needed.

The Negatives

It is hard to find to many negatives in a 48 point win, but yet again the Cougars were out rebounded on the offensive side of the ball. BYU lost the offensive rebounds 13-9, to a smaller team. Part of this may have been due to the limited minutes of Mika, but the other players need to step up and make the plays when the rebounders are on the bench.

The Keys to Watch

When Utah has the ball: Look for the Utes to push the ball, but settle on good shots. Utah leads the nation in field goal percentage at 55 percent and have only scored less thank 70 once. They get most of their scoring from Jordan Loveridge who is averaging over 17 points a game and is pulling down almost 10 rebounds. Delon Wright is a good scoring supplement as he is averaging 16 points and six rebounds per game. Add in Wright's six assists per game and you have a player that wants the ball in his hands. Loveridge may average more points per game, but Wright can be deadly if given room, he is shooting 72 percent from the field and 36 percent from the three point line. Look for the Cougars to play tight on these two players and make their teammates step up. The Cougars need to force tough shots so they Utes can not rely on their high field goal percentage. The Cougars will also need to create turnovers and get their hands in the lane since as the Utes protect the ball with only 10 turnovers per game. Look for BYU to crash the boards and bring down the rebounds. BYU is 9th in the country in rebounds, averaging almost 44 a game and Utah is 95th at 38 per game.

When BYU has the ball: Look for BYU to test a Ute defense that has only allowed one opponent to score 70 points. BYU has only scored less than 80 once this year and looks to keep that streak intact. Look for Eric Mika to make his presence known early. The Utes have two players that can match up with him in size, but both play less than 15 minutes per game. Look for Loveridge to use his athleticism to minimize the damage by the Cougars inside presence and try to steal a few rebounds that may swing the momentum the Utes way. Look for Haws and Carlino to continue to shoot the ball and keep the defense from spending to much time on Mika. BYU should continue to run the ball up and down the court and make the game match the Cougars pace. If the BYU defense can limit the easy shots, rebounds turning into fast breaks could be the difference in the game for the Cougars.

Interesting Tidbit

What Coach would compare himself to Barney Fife? Coach Larry Krystkowiak did! In a four day period in late September, Coach Krystkowiak had a hand in stopping a bike thief and then a suspect who had collected thousands of dollars worth of equipment for the athletic offices. Not only did he help stop the would be thiefs, but he then gave a check to the managers that helped him corner the suspect. Who would have thought that Utah would hire a crime fighting coach to rebuild the program. Click Here for the full story.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 8 pm MST

Where: Huntsman Center-Salt Lake City, Utah

TV: Pac-12 Network

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

Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here