BYU Basketball: The 5 Biggest Issues That Will Define the Cougars' Season

Samuel Benson@@sambbensonContributor IIINovember 20, 2012

BYU Basketball: The 5 Biggest Issues That Will Define the Cougars' Season

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    After two disappointing losses to Notre Dame and Florida State, several issues became apparent for BYU's basketball squad. And these weren't things we just saw here and there—it seemed as if these problems could last all season.

    From keeping Brandon Davies out of foul trouble to limiting Matt Carlino's turnovers, five things could define BYU's season for better or worse. Although it is still early, they had better figure them out now rather than much later.

Getting Tyler Haws Open Looks

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    Tyler Haws is BYU's best shooter.


    He is the Cougars' offensive anchor, their leader, their go-to player. But he needs to be able to have the ball in places that he is comfortable in, and if Matt Carlino (or whoever runs the point) can get him open looks, Haws could be in for a great year.

Keeping Brandon Davies out of Foul Trouble

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    Brandon Davies entered this season as BYU's probable scoring and rebounding leader, but trails Haws in both of those standings. It is not a lack of execution on his part, but a lack of playing time because of fouls.

    In fact, Davies played a total of 39 minutes in the FSU and Notre Dame games combined, a number that should be close to his single-game total. If he wants to have a good senior season and help lead BYU to a conference championship, Davies will need to limit his fouls.

Scoring Early and Often in Games

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    BYU led Florida State early, and if it wasn't for Tyler Haws, they wouldn't have had a shot of coming close to a win. The Cougs need to get on the board early on, and score often.

    It took nearly five minutes of play for BYU to knock down a basket against the Seminoles, and they can't let that happen in big games. They must get the ball to Haws and Davies, and establish an offensive rhythm.

Limiting [Matt Carlino's] Turnovers

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    Matt Carlino is going to start at point guard for the next few years for BYU, so we might as well get used to seeing him. Luckily, he isn't the shoot-first type of player we saw last year; he has seemed to develop into a pass-first guard.

    He could truly help BYU on offense, but only if he can limit his turnovers. He gave the ball away twice before the Cougs even scored against FSU, and he needs to try to hold on to the ball better.

Playing at Their Own Pace

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    I love watching BYU play because of their up-tempo pace. They score most in fast breaks, and always keep defenses on their heels.

    But in the FSU and parts of the UND contests, they seemed to play at their opponents' pace. They weren't creating open looks for themselves or pushing the ball downcourt like they needed to.

    When the Cougars get a rhythm going on offense and move the ball like they want to, they will win ballgames. Along with the other four issues, these could decide the fate of BYU's season.