The BYU Cougars and Massachusetts Minutemen have only met once on the court as they faced off in 2013 Holiday Showcase put on by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This will be the second of a two-game scheduled series.
Springfield, MA 2013 (105-96 Loss)
In the first of a tough stretch for the Cougars as they lost five of six, the Cougars traveled to Springfield Massachusetts to take on the 21th ranked Minutemen. Tyler Haws and Matt Carlino did most of the damage as they combined for 48 points (Haws 25, Carlino 23) but the Cougars fell short 105-96. The concern wasn't with the Cougars shooting as they finished shooting almost 49 percent from the floor, but with the inability to stop UMass from hitting their shots. UMass used a shooting percentage of almost 56 percent to put up 105 points on the Cougars, even though they were outrebounded by BYU 33-29, and gave up 14 turnovers. Foul trouble hurt the Cougars early, but Eric Mika still managed 18 points and eight rebounds. Kyle Collinsworth and Frank Bartley IV each added 14 points.
The Cougars passed their latest test as they held on to beat the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night. The Game was full of runs and it wasn't always pretty so there will be plenty to work on in the one day the Cougars have to prepare for the Minutemen. The Cougars played physical so it will be interesting to see how Coach Rose manages the legs of the Cougars as they will have one day of rest and one day of prep before an early tip off.
The fact that the Cougars beat a quality team while shooting less than 30% from the three is something to hang their hat on. Usually if the Cougars shoot poorly from the three point line, they are unable to pull out the win. Overall the Cougars shot almost 43 percent from the field and 72 percent from the free throw line, and they needed each and every make to win the game.
Once again Collinsworth flirted with a triple double as he ended with 15 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Collinsworth continues to do a little bit of everything for the Cougars and is taking off some of the pressure from Haws and Chase Fischer. If he continues to play productive minutes, he could turn out to be the Cougars most valuable player.
The lack of bench production is a bit concerning. Outside of Anson Winder the Cougars bench didn't score a point and went 0-6 from the field. This doesn't seem to be a habit as of yet, but the Cougars will need players to step up as the season progresses in order to show well in conference play.
Scoring Offense vs Scoring Defense
BYU continues to be one of the top scoring offenses in the country. At almost 89 points per game the Cougars are looking to score each time down the floor and would like to do so quickly. The Minutemen are not a top tier defensive team as they are allowing over 72 points per game and ranked in the lower third of the country as they try and defend. If BYU can keep up the pace, they could put up a hundred without blinking on Tuesday.
The Keys to Watch
When the Minutemen have the ball:
Watch for senior Cady Lalanne to lead the team against the Cougars as he is not only one of four players that scores in double digits, but he leads the team in points (14.5), rebounds (9.7), and blocks (2.4). Lalanne is a big body that will use his 6'10 frame to control the paint as he opens up the floor for the other shooters Maxie Esho, Derrick Gordon, and Trey Davis. Watch for Gordan and Davis to control the ball outside the paint as they each average more than three assists per game.
Watch for the Cougars to pressure Lalanne and Gordon as they both turn the ball over at least twice per game and will be handling the ball against the Cougars quick hands. The Minutemen average over 15 turnovers per game which will give the Cougars a prime opportunity to pick up the pace and run the fast break after defensive stops.
When the Cougars have the ball:
Watch for the Cougars to shoot better from three, but not rely on Fischer and Haws to do it. Don't expect Winder to miss his shots like he did against the Cardinal, leading to a possible big numbers game for the Cougars 6th man. Watch for the Cougars to take advantage of every chance they are given to run the court and control the pace after steals and rebounds. The Minutemen are reeling a bit right now and the Cougars should be looking for the early kill.
Watch for the Minutemen to focus on ball control and slowing the pace of the game as they limit the Cougars possessions. The Minutemen don't want to get into a shootout with the Cougars as they will struggle to keep up, especially in Provo. Watch for the defense to force the extra pass, as they try to force offensive errors by the Cougars.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 12 pm MST
Where: Marriott Center-Provo, Utah
Radio(BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet(KSL): Click Here