Pepperdine Waves (8-5) vs. Brigham Young Cougars (8-6)
Date: Monday, December 30, 2013
Location: Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu, CA
Time: 6:00 PM PST
TV: TWC SportsNet, CSN BA
Last Season: BYU won both matchups. The Cougars defeated the Waves 76-51 in Provo, and 63-61 in Malibu.
Jeremy Major, 11.5 PPG, 4.6 APG
Malcolm Brooks, 8.6 PPG
Atif Russell, 3.5 PPG
Stacy Davis, 15.8 PPG, 7.2 RPG
Brendan Lane, 15.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG
Matt Carlino, 15.9 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.7 APG
Kyle Collinsworth, 13.2 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 5.1 APG
Tyler Haws, 22.2 PPG, 5.0 RPG
Eric Mika 14.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG
Nate Austin, 4.2 PPG, 8.4 RPG
KEYS TO THE GAME
Find a consistent 5th starter: Stacy Davis, Brendan Lane, Malcolm Brooks, and Jeremy Major have started all season and they have been very good so far. But the 5th starter has bounced around between several players: Amadi Udenyi, Nikolas Skouen, Malte Kramer, and now Atif Russell. If one of those players can step up, the Waves will be an even tougher team to guard.
Keep looking for Malcolm Brooks: Brooks has averaged 13.3 points per game over his last 4 games and has become a potent weapon on offense. Everyone knows about Lane, Davis, and even Major, but Brooks has the ability to fly under the radar as he is not at the top of opposing teams’ scouting reports. He can be a quiet assassin for the Waves.
Keep Mika and Austin out of foul trouble: Same key for this game as it was for the last. When one or both of these players are not on the floor, BYU plays a 4-guard lineup that is a liability on defense and rebounding. BYU doesn’t have much trouble scoring but they do have trouble defending, so these two must stay out of foul trouble, which has rarely happened so far this season.
Carlino needs to break out of his slump: Carlino is shooting 37.5% from the field and 27.9% from three point range. He suffered a similar slump to start last season but then broke out of it during conference play. He needs to do the same this year if BYU wants to be competitive in the WCC.
BYU will play with motivation after a bad loss at LMU. The Waves are emerging as a very good team after beating San Diego, but they won’t have enough to keep up with the Cougars. Eric Mika will be a good matchup against Stacy Davis. I predict a 82-77 victory for BYU.