Dec 14, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Utah Utes center Dallin Bachynski (31) shoots the ball against the Brigham Young Cougars during the second half at Jon M. Huntsman Center. Utah Utes won the game 81-64. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
BYU Cougars (7-2) vs. Utah Utes (6-1)
Date: Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Location: Marriott Center, Provo, UT
Time: 7:00 PM MT
Series History: BYU leads series 129-126. Utah won the last meeting 81-64 last season led by 21 points from Jordan Loveridge and 16 points from Delon Wright.
Kyle Collinsworth, 13.1 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 5.8 APG
Tyler Haws, 24.4 PPG
Chase Fischer, 15.7 PPG
Nate Austin, 3.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG
Luke Worthington, 3.7 PPG
Key Reserve: Anson Winder, 14.2 PPG
Delon Wright, 15.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 5.1 APG
Brandon Taylor, 11.3 PPG
Kenneth Ogbe, 7.1 PPG or Dakarai Tucker 10.3 PPG
Chris Reyes, 4.7 PPG, 4.9 RPG
Jakob Poeltl, 12.0 PPG, 9.6 RPG
Key Reserve: Brekkott Chapman, 6.0 PPG
Meet the Opponent
The Utah Utes return most of their team from last year’s NIT squad that went 9-9 in the rigorous Pac 12. Delon Wright is a triple-double threat every night, and with his improved three point shooting this season, has the ability to beat you in many ways on offense. Austrian center Jakob Poeltl (pronounced Pertl) is a fantastic freshman whose length and ability to finish around the rim will be tough for the Cougars’ frontcourt to deal with. Brandon Taylor would normally be playing point guard if the 6’5 Wright didn’t have such great court vision, but Taylor is a good shooter in his own right. While star forward Jordan Loveridge is out until January with a knee injury, star freshmen forwards Brekkott Chapman and Kyle Kuzma have provided offensive sparks off the bench. Junior Dakarai Tucker is a sharpshooter who has been seeing more time lately since Loveridge’s injury. Dallin Bachynski is a physical center without any real post moves but he is not afraid to throw one down when he has the chance. Chris Reyes is an interior scorer and rebounder who actually spent a brief period in the WCC at Saint Mary’s before transferring to Citrus College in September 2013. The Utes are a high powered offense even without Loveridge, though they did struggle in the overtime win against Wichita State last Wednesday.
Keys to the Game for BYU
This is a game where I expect to see a lot of Corbin Kaufusi for defensive rebounds. He is the longest BYU center and has shown the ability to challenge shots at the rim, which will be necessary when guarding Poeltl. The Wright-Collinsworth matchup might be one of the best point guard matchups in all of college basketball, as both players are very similar. I’d argue that Wright is quicker while Collinsworth is stronger and more physical. The real key for BYU will be keeping Wright out of the lane because when he gets in the lane there will be three point shooters on both wings waiting to capitalize on BYU’s guards helping down into the paint. As always, the Cougars will need a strong offensive showing from Tyler Haws if they want to win the game.
The Cougars definitely want revenge after last season’s awful showing at Utah, and their task will be a little easier without Jordan Loveridge playing for Utah. But the Cougars will still need to rebound well, guard the three point line, and limit dribble penetration. This is the last chance for BYU to get the statement non-conference win they have failed to achieve up to this point. Stanford and UMass haven’t been great this season, so it’s really now or never in terms of BYU improving their NCAA Tournament resume. The Cougars will use the hyped up crowd in this rivalry game to win it 78-73.