|Date of game: 11/8/2013
Weber State (0-0) at BYU (0-0) (ET)
GAME NOTES: A pair of 20-win teams from a season ago are set to open the 2013-14 campaign at the Marriott Center on Friday night, as the BYU Cougars play host to the Weber State Wildcats.
Weber State had an outstanding run in 2012-13, going 18-2 in the Big Sky Conference, but it played second-fiddle to Montana all season long, even losing to the Grizzlies in the conference tournament championship game, 67-64. After advancing all the way to the title tilt of the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament, the Wildcats finished 30-7 -- the winningest season in school history.
BYU's success under head coach Dave Rose continued last season, as it went 24-12 overall (10-6 in the West Coast Conference) for its eighth straight 20- win campaign. But for the first time since 2006, it was left out of the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the Cougars accepted a bid to the NIT, where they advanced to the semifinals before falling to Baylor (76-70).
BYU has a comfortable 28-10 series advantage over its intrastate rival, which includes a 78-68 road win last December.
In scoring 75.7 points per game on greater than 50 percent field goal efficiency, Weber State was one of the nation's most prolific shooting teams last season. The squad lost a pair of starters in Scott Bamforth (14.0 ppg) and Frank Otis (8.9 ppg), but the Wildcats should still fill up the scoreboard with regularity thanks to the return of Davion Berry, who scored 15.2 points per game on 47.6 percent from the field (including 41.4 percent from 3-point range) while getting to the foul line with regularity (146-of-193, .756). Kyle Tresnak (11.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.2 bpg) and Joel Bolomboy (7.0 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.7 bpg) bring a physical presence to the paint, and Jordan Richardson (7.2 ppg) made 53 3-pointers a season ago at a 40.5 percent clip.
BYU was one of the few teams in the country that could keep up with Weber State on the scoreboard in 2012-13 (77.1 ppg), and the return of Tyler Haws to the backcourt all but assures a similar result this season. Haws, a First Team All-WCC selection, led the conference in scoring with 21.7 points per game, doing so on 48.3 percent shooting from the field and 87.7 percent from the free-throw line. He is also an active perimeter defender (1.3 spg), as is Matt Carlino (1.8 spg), who joins Haws in the backcourt after averaging 11.5 points per game as a sophomore. The Cougars have a gaping hole in the frontcourt now that Brandon Davies (17.7 ppg, 8.0 rpg) has moved on, and they hope that Nate Austin (3.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg) can step into the starting lineup. Incoming freshmen Luke Worthington and Eric Mika -- both of whom stand 6-feet-10 -- will also have a chance to make their mark down low.
In what is sure to be an exciting matchup, figure the Cougars to have the slight edge at home, since it is unlikely that anyone on Weber State will be able to slow down Haws.
GAME NOTES: A pair of 20-win teams from a season ago are set to open the
2013-14 campaign at the Marriott Center on Friday night, as the BYU Cougars
play host to the Weber State Wildcats.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (20,900) -- Provo, Utah.
Television: BYUtv. Home Record: Weber State 0-0, BYU 0-0. Away Record: Weber
State 0-0, BYU 0-0. Neutral Record: Weber State 0-0, BYU 0-0. Conference
Record: Weber State 0-0, BYU 0-0. Series Record: BYU leads, 28-10.Game Date and Time
Friday, November 8, 9 p.m. (et)Predicted Outcome
BYU 77, Weber State 74