Being a diehard BYU fan, I was ecstatic when they finally pulled out the win against Florida on Thursday. I didn’t particularly enjoy the teeth grinding closeness of it, but I will take the win any day.
There was a lot of good that came from that game, but maybe the most important thing was the continued fight that the team put out. They could have easily given up once Florida took the lead, but they fought back and wore their opponent out to get the win.
Saturday’s game should be equally competitive, and will really show how good this team is.
If BYU plays to their potential, they have a good chance to win this game. They showed against Florida how they can play physical basketball, and that is exactly what they will have to do to compete.
Kansas State definitely has the interior advantage which will force BYU into a zone once again so this should come down to how well Kansas State shoots from the perimeter. Florida shot well enough to keep it close for a long time, but ultimately couldn’t get it done.
Make no mistake, K-State is a better team and it will be a much bigger challenge for BYU, but if they play their game they will at least be competitive.
It goes without saying that Jimmer Fredette will have to have another great game. He is the foundation of this team, and without him it will be nearly impossible for BYU to win. There is also little reason to suspect Jimmer won’t play well.
More important is the rest of the team and how they play.
Another career performance from Michael Loyd Jr. would be a great blessing. I suspect he will have a good game, though likely not as good as Thursday.
Jonathan Tavernari needs to be more effective on at least one end of the court. He has done well coming off the bench, but was practically invisible in the last game. He can be explosive when he is on, and he needs to be for BYU to win this game.
The most important group is the men who man the middle: Noah Hartsock, Chris Miles, and Brandon Davies. I don’t know where they have disappeared too recently, but they better show up, or this game could be over very quickly.
They don’t need to have huge offensive games, but they need to play defense, get at least a few points, and most importantly, get some rebounds. If BYU allows 15-20 offensive rebounds again, this game will not be close.
All three have shown the ability to play solid defense at times, but now they need to put it together into a complete game.
There should be a good crowd in their favor, or at the very least anti-Kansas State with Kansas playing in the same group, and that should aid BYU. Along with everyone cheering for the underdog and the BYU fans that will be there, I give BYU the crowd edge.
I am thoroughly excited for the game today, and look forward to a competitive contest with BYU coming out on top in the end. I genuinely think that BYU will either pull out a close win at the end, or they will lose by double digits.
I have had high expectations this whole season, and that is no different today. The Cougars need to focus on the moment and win today. However, as a fan, I can’t help but look all the way to the final four after winning this game. It is hard not to be antsy for the game to start with so much on the line.
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