BYU vs. Baylor: 5 Keys for Cougars to Win 2013 NIT Semifinal

Samuel Benson@@sambbensonContributor IIIApril 2, 2013

BYU vs. Baylor: 5 Keys for Cougars to Win 2013 NIT Semifinal

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    After a trio of impressive blowout wins against Washington, Mercer and Southern Miss, BYU will take on Baylor in an NIT semifinal game on Tuesday. It will be a competitive game, and if the matchup between these two teams earlier this season is any indication, it will be a fun one to watch.

    A win at Madison Square Garden will land Dave Rose and the Cougs their 25th win on the season, a notable accomplishment considering all of the tough streaks of the year.

    But what must the Cougars do to get the win? Here are five keys.

Make and Defend Threes

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    When BYU and Baylor met earlier this season, the latter put on a shooting clinic. The Bears made 50 percent of their three-pointers, and not only did they shoot well, but they also held the Cougars to 16.7 percent.

    Heck, Brandon Davies and Raul Delgado were the only BYU players to make a shot from downtown.

    If the Cougs want to move on to the NIT final, they will need to find their range from the three. They have done that recently, with 40 percent marks in the last two games, but now is no time to collapse.

Take Control of Leads

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    As many BYU fans would love to forget, the Cougs held a solid 19-8 lead early on in Waco last December, and ended up crumbling and getting behind by as much as 23.

    So, if there's a lesson to be learned, it's this: Don't give up a lead to Baylor, or they will make you pay.

    BYU should avoid just that. Get a lead, and keep it—or else it could be a pretty long game.

Get More Help from the Bench

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    BYU's bench has been nearly non-existent in the last three games, as only nine points have been scored outside of the starters.

    Although the Cougar starting five hasn't necessarily needed much help in the NIT, they surely will against the big, deep-rostered Bears.

Continue to Get Huge Numbers from Brock Zylstra

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    Brock Zylstra has been an animal lately, as he dropped 23 points, 10 boards and four assists on Southern Miss, along with five three-pointers in the first half alone. He is playing like we've never seen before, and I sure hope he can extend this hot streak.

    Zylstra is the X-factor for this BYU team and another breakout performance could push the Cougs past Baylor.

Win the Rebounding Battle

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    BYU has exceeded its opponents during the NIT on the rebounding glass with an average of 10 more boards per game than its counterparts.

    It will surely be hard to do the same against Baylor, who boasts a big frontcourt, featuring the 7' Isaiah Austin.

    If the Cougars can get an advantage on both the offensive and defensive glass, it will pay off when the final buzzer sounds.