Dec 10, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars forward Isaac Neilson (35) gets a charging foul on Utah Utes guard Delon Wright (55) during the first half at Marriott Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
BYU Cougars (7-3) @ Weber State Wildcats (3-4)
Date: Saturday, December 13, 2014
Location: Dee Events Center, Ogden, UT
Time: 7:00 PM MT
TV: KJZZ TV
PROJECTED STARTERS (2013-14 stats)
Kyle Collinsworth, 13.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 5.7 APG
Tyler Haws, 24.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG
Chase Fischer, 14.0 PPG
Isaac Neilson, 4.8 PPG
Luke Worthington, 3.5 PPG
Jeremy Senglin, 14.0 PPG, 2.6 APG
Chris Golden, 9.6 PPG
Richaud Gittens, 9.0 PPG
Kyndahl Hill, 7.4 PPG, 5.9 RPG
Joel Bolomboy, 14.6 PPG, 10.9 RPG
Meet the Opponent
Life after Lillard has gone just about as well for Weber State as life after Jimmer has for BYU, but this is the first year since the departure of Damian Lillard where the Wildcats look to be in complete rebuild mode. They are 3-4 this season and their three wins have come against NAIA Presentation College, 2-6 Nevada, and 2-4 Oral Roberts. None of their losses are against power conference opponents, though they did manage to stay relatively close at Utah State before losing by 11. The Wildcats are led in the frontcourt by 6’9, 230 pound Joel Bolomboy, who gets double-doubles on a regular basis. He averages 11 rebounds per game just like he did last year, but with the departure of guard Davion Berry and center Kyle Tresnak, the teams top two scorers from last season, he has had more opportunities to scored on the inside and get to the free throw line. He shoots 80% from the charity stripe, which is quite impressive from someone his size. Bolomboy was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Year award winner last season, but BYU does not have a post player that they run their offense through this year as they had the past few years (Hartsock, Davies, Mika), so that typical advantage for Weber State shouldn’t make too much of a difference against BYU since the Cougars rely heavily on the outside shot.
The biggest problem for Weber State this season seems to be their lack of a natural point guard that Lillard was for four years or that Berry was last season. No Wildcat player averages more than 2.6 assists per game in Jeremy Senglin, but he also adds 4 turnovers per game, giving him a terrible assist-turnover ratio. As a team, they average 10 assists per game and 15 turnovers per game, which makes it tough for them to win games, because they are getting fewer shot attempts than opposing teams and getting lower quality shots that are not a direct result of a good pass.
Keys to the Game for BYU
With Nate Austin out with a hamstring injury for the next 3 games, expect to see Josh Sharp in the starting lineup. I could also see a combination of two of Worthington, Neilson, and Kaufusi playing together if BYU is having trouble rebounding and boxing out Bolomboy. Weber State is a poor three point shooting team at under 32 percent so zone might be a viable option for the Cougars. But zone would also give Bolomboy more opportunities to rebound, so it will be interesting to see which defense Dave Rose favors against Weber State.
Kyle Collinsworth has stepped up his rebounding and will need to continue to do so if the Cougars want to get out and run off of Wildcat misses (and there should be plenty). It wasn’t surprising that BYU lost when Tyler Haws only shot 9/22 from the field. Anson Winder, who has been excellent this season off the bench, only scored 2 points in the first 35 minutes against Utah before coming on strong late, so he needs to be more involved in the offense right when he comes off the bench. For BYU to have a solid showing, one of the big men needs to have a breakout game, not necessarily in terms of scoring but in terms of defense, rebounding, setting screens, diving for loose balls, hustling, and providing everything the team is missing in Nate Austin’s absence.
The Cougars will be charged up to play another in state game on the road, and hopefully they will use their frustration from the Utah loss to take away any hope Weber State has of winning the game early. I predict a 77-61 victory for BYU.