BYU vs. Nevada: Get To Know The Cougars
Will BYU be a threat against Nevada?
The Wolf Pack start the season with a challenge
The most-hyped season ever for Nevada basketball begins Tuesday night as they host BYU from the West Coast Conference. This will be a solid challenge for the Wolf Pack and a good test over playing some lower level Divison I school that some teams open up with.
To get to know BYU we chatted with Mitch Harper who covers BYU for 247Sports.
1. Who are the players that Nevada must focus on in this game against BYU?
BYU’s best player is junior forward Yoeli Childs. Childs withdrew his name from the NBA Draft process despite receiving a six-figure salary contract offer from a professional team in Australia. Childs is one of the best players in college basketball out west this season.
2. Who will be matching up with preseason All-American Caleb Martin?
It’s possible BYU brings in Dalton Nixon to the starting lineup to match up against Martin. The Cougars lack size and Caleb is sure to be a matchup nightmare for BYU on Tuesday night.
3. What is the style of play on offense and defense that BYU utilizes?
BYU is getting back to what they know best on the offensive end and that is up-tempo. Last season, BYU played at a slower rate with Associate Head Coach Heath Schroyer on the bench. Schroyer instilled a toughness on the defensive end but there was a noticeable impact on BYU’s offensive production.
Look for BYU to get up and down the field against the Wolfpack. Defensively, BYU will come out in a man to man defense against the Pack, but I would expect that to change to a zone fairly quickly in this game.
4. What are the big picture expectations for the Cougars?
Need to get back to the NCAA Tournament this season. The Cougars have missed the NCAA Tournament the last three seasons and they are hungry to get back.
The WCC title might be unrealistic as Gonzaga isn’t leaving the title perch anytime soon, but getting an at-large bid is attainable, especially if BYU’s non-conference opponents, like Nevada, UNLV, and San Diego State, pan out to be quality opponents when Selection Sunday rolls around this March.
5. BYU has some tough non-conference games where does this Nevada game compare to the rest?
I’d say it’s the second toughest game on the non-conference schedule behind only the trip to Mississippi State to close out the non-con slate. BYU realized they had to ramp up the schedule and it helps to have an athletic director in Tom Holmoe who works on the selection committee to give that insight on how the committee looks at a potential bubble team resume.
6. How will this game play out?
Nevada is currently a 14-point favorite and I think Lawlor is going to be rocking to tip-off this much anticipated season of Nevada hoops. So I’m expecting the Pack to jump out to a good size lead early on in this one with BYU then chipping away at the deficit before halftime and then the game is back and forth throughout the final 20 minutes before ultimate Nevada pulls away to get the victory.