BYU Basketball: Four Keys to Surviving Brutal February
BYU is heading into perhaps the toughest chunk of their schedule, with some difficult in- and out-of-conference games coming up. The Cougars play Utah State, St. Mary's and Gonzaga in consecutive contests in the latter end of the month. They also have tough, but manageable games against San Fransisco and LMU.
The Cougs have already lost one game in this month against SDU, and they will try to avoid any more.
So what will BYU have to do to emerge victorious at the end of the month? Here are four things that will be key in the Cougars' success.
Protect Their Home Court
BYU will play four of their last six games this season at the Marriott Center. Although some of the games may look like easy wins on paper, the Cougs could very well be surprised. The matchup against Portland shouldn't be bad, but the Utah State, Gonzaga and even San Fransisco contests could be tough.
Wins against quality opponents are desperately needed for BYU, and they could earn those in their own house.
Allow the 'Big 3' to Play Their Game
There is no question that Tyler Haws, Brandon Davies and Matt Carlino are the heart and soul of BYU's squad.
They average over 50 of BYU's 78 points per game, and they receive more minutes on the court than any other Cougars.
I have complete confidence in the "big three", and I know that they have the potential to carry this team. Although they cannot single-handedly beat the St. Mary's and Gonzaga's of the conference, they can definitely set the stage do to so.
Receive More Production from Role Players
As noted before, Haws, Davies, and Carlino are the focal points of the Cougar team. They are the engine that keep the bus running.
But a car can't run with just an engine. There are other pieces that need to be put in place for BYU to have success.
Role players, such as Josh Sharp, Brock Zylstra, Anson Winder, Craig Cusick and others will need to step up and play a bigger part. Without them: There is no way that the Cougs will have any reason to cheer this month.
Become Road Warriors
BYU has their fair share of challenges at home this month, but that is almost equally matched with trials on the road. We already saw them stumble away from home on Thursday against San Diego, and they could do the same at St. Mary's and LMU.
If they can emerge as road warriors at the regular season's end, I could see them with only one or two losses in the month (San Diego and possibly Gonzaga). If they can overcome late-season fatigue and find ways to win on the road, it could be a good conclusion to the year.