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What you need to know: BYU vs Weber State preview (Basketball Edition)

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Will the Cougars rebound on offense after being held to a season low 61 points?

Joel Bolomboy will lead the Wildcats against BYU on Saturday
Joel Bolomboy will lead the Wildcats against BYU on Saturday
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The History

The BYU Cougars and Weber State Wildcats will continue their series on Saturday, which started in 1973. Many would like to call it an instant rivalry, but the Cougars have dominated the series as they have won 29 of the 39 games played. Not only does BYU lead the series, but they have won 11 straight against Weber State, meaning that Coach Dave Rose has never lost to the Wildcats.  The last time the Wildcats won was in the Dee Events Center in Ogden. In fact, the odds of the Wildcats winning go up drastically when they play at home since they have never won in the Marriott Center. Amazingly enough, this means that BYU has a losing record on the road against the Wildcats as they are 9-10 and looking to reach the.500 mark in Ogden.

Provo, UT 2013 (81-72)

In the season and home opener for the Cougars, BYU rode the coattails of Tyler Haws as he finished off a double-double with 28 points and 13 rebounds. Matt Carlino added 22 points and six assists in the 81-72 win. BYU would take the lead early as they jumped to a 17-5 lead and led by as many as 14 in the first half. The Cougars would allow the Wildcats to pull within nine before pushing the lead up to 20 with thirteen minutes left in the game. A couple of Wildcat runs would make drop the win margin, but the game was never in doubt. The Wildcats ended the game on an 8-0 run, giving the impression that the game was close.

The Outlook

In the loss against a very good Utah team on Wednesday, the Cougars once again showed that they are a good team that can't win the close one, against another good team. BYU missed a number of shots at the end of the game that could have changed the outcome, but didn't. There are positives that can be taken from the game, but the Cougars are showing that they lack the killer instinct when playing against quality opponents.

The Positives

The Cougars found a way to protect the ball against Utah and recorded less than half the turnovers than the Utes. In one of the better performances of the year the Cougars only turned the ball over seven times, leading to 13 Utah points. On the other hand, the Utes turned it over 15 times leading to 24 BYU points. This stat was a big reason why the Cougars were in the game after getting down early, and why they had a chance at the end.

With Nate Austin missing all but the first minute of the game due to a hamstring injury, the Cougars were able to get Corbin Kaufusi on the floor for 18 minutes of game time. Although his stat line was far from impressive, the positive come from the experience he gains each time he is on the floor. By getting increased minutes against good teams, he will be much better prepared as the season goes along.

The Negatives

Once again the Cougars started out slow and found themselves down double digits early. With the shot not falling for the Cougars, they shot only 37 percent from the field, the energy spent in the comeback was too much to maintain and after a brief lead, they fell behind by double digits again. The slow starts cannot continue to happen if the Cougars want any chance of going to the big dance.

The Cougars were demolished on the boards as Utah had 43 rebounds to the Cougars 31. The production from the post players has been nonexistent and very troublesome. Against Utah the combination of forwards and centers gave BYU four points and three rebounds.  Those kind of numbers will not cut it in the long run and will cost the Cougars more games if not corrected.

The Match-ups

BYU Scorers vs Weber State Defenders

After being held to 61 points, over 30 points less than their season average, the Cougars are looking to rebound and show that the lack of offense was a fluke. The Cougars are still leading the country in points per game at 91.2 and will face off against a Weber State defense that gives up only 63.7. The Weber State defense is not nearly as good as the Utes, so don't be surprised if the Cougars get back on track offensively and maybe even take out some of their frustrations on the Wildcats.

The Keys to Watch

When Weber State has the ball:

Watch for the Wildcats to try and control the tempo and slow down the game. Weber State only averages 62 points per game and almost half of that comes from junior forward Joel Bolomboy and sophomore guard Jeremy Senglin. The Wildcats don't use their bench as much as many teams with only five players averaging more than 16 minutes per game. Watch for Senglin to try and distribute the ball to players, but he has a tendency to be a little careless with the ball as he averages 2.6 assists to 4 turnovers per game. Watch for the Wildcats to try and abuse the Cougar post players with physical play by Bolomboy.

Watch for the Cougars to make the other players make their shots and to force the ball away from Bolomboy and Senglin. Watch for the Cougars to use defense to pick up the pace of the game and force the Wildcats to play tired, or go to their bench. With the Wildcats averaging 15 turnovers per game, the Cougars will have the opportunity to get the ball in transition and score a number of fast break points. Watch for the Cougars to force Bolomboy away from the paint as they try to neutralize his 10.9 rebounds per game.

When BYU has the ball:

Watch for the Cougars to spread the defense and force the Wildcats to give the Cougars lanes to drive. Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth will still be the Cougars workhorses, but watch for Anson Winder to continue to solidify himself on the floor and make the defense adjust accordingly. Watch for the Cougars to drive to the hoop and then kick it out for the open shot as they draw in the defense.

Watch for the Wildcats to lean on Bolomboy to protect the basket. He is averaging more than two blocks per game and will look to increase that number with the Cougars driving. Watch for the defense to stick with their man and switch when in zone as they know that any missed assignment will most likely end in points for the Cougars.

The Broadcasting Details

Time: 7:00 PM MST

Where: Dee Events Center- Ogden, Utah

TV: KJZZ

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

Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here