BYU-Colorado St. Preview
Though Saturday night’s game between BYU and Colorado State
features the top offenses in the Mountain West, there is clearly a
huge disparity between the programs.
It’s a matchup the ninth-ranked Cougars might have a tough time
not overlooking because of the big showdown to follow, and they’ve
had no trouble taking care of the Rams in recent years.
BYU (18-1, 4-0) visits Colorado State having won the last eight
meetings, including all four over the previous two seasons by at
least 22 points. This one might not be much closer, with the
Cougars entering on an eight-game winning streak which includes
double-digit victories in all four conference games.
A bigger challenge awaits Wednesday, when BYU hosts a
sixth-ranked and unbeaten San Diego State team which currently has
the nation’s longest win streak at 20.
Those are the only teams in the Mountain West standings ahead of
the Rams (13-5, 3-1), who have won nine of 11. Plus, they’re coming
off possibly their most impressive win, 78-63 at UNLV on Wednesday
– a bigger margin of victory than BYU had over the previously
ranked Rebels in Las Vegas on Jan. 5 (89-77).
However, Colorado State has lost 11 in a row to Top 25
opponents, dating to a 2004 conference tournament win over then-No.
25 Air Force.
The Rams lead the Mountain West in field-goal shooting at 49.7
percent and average 75.6 points, a distant second to BYU’s 84.7
average which ranks sixth in Division I.
The Cougars boast the nation’s leading scorer in Jimmer
Fredette, averaging 25.8 points, and he could be due for another
Fredette was limited to 21 points on 6-of-16 shooting in an
83-67 win over TCU on Tuesday. The other two times this month he
was held below his season average, he followed with 39 points
against UNLV and 47 versus Utah on Jan. 11.
The preseason All-American is 21 of 40 from 3-point range in
five games this month and fellow senior Jackson Emery is 22 for 41.
Emery, the school’s career leader with 199 steals, hit five 3s for
a second straight game Tuesday and had 17 points as BYU improved to
16-0 when he scores more than 15.
“Jimmer is a great player and every team seems to have a great
player,” coach Dave Rose said. “But it’s that second guy who makes
the first guy better. Jackson hitting five from 3-point (range)
probably changed the way TCU wanted to guard Jimmer.”
The Cougars have not been held under 70 points this season but
are facing a Rams team which has held its last four opponents below
70. BYU has averaged 90.8 points on 58.0 percent shooting in the
last four meetings.
Fredette scored 36 in the most recent one, a 92-70 road win Feb.
“They happen to have our number,” Rams forward Andy Ogide said
after that loss. “They are tough because they have to play 40
minutes of intensity against them.”
Ogide and fellow senior Travis Franklin lead Colorado State with
15.4 and 14.7 points per game, respectively. Franklin scored 24 and
Ogide added 18 on Wednesday, but that duo has combined to average
16.3 points in four career games against BYU.