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Vegas Showdown Basketball Tournament: Game 2 - BYU

We got the matchup we wanted, let’s see what we can do with it.

2023 Pac-12 Football Media Day Photo by Louis Grasse/Getty Images

When: Friday November 24 - 10:00 PM

Where: Vegas Showdown – Las Vegas

Opponent: Brigham Young University Cougars (Big 12 Conference)


Preseason Conference Prediction: 13th (of 14) in the B12

Pomeroy Prediction: BYU 77-71

Wolfpack Snapshot: KP #54

The BYU Cougars (KP #12) are beginning their first season in the B12, and they are pretty happy about it. In the past, they struggled to find Q1 / Q2 OOC opponents to strengthen their schedule. That is no longer a problem, the Big 12 will provide plenty. Are they ready? They looked pretty good against Az St. You don’t often see such a wide disparity between Pomeroy rankings (#12) and preseason predicted finish (13th). Of course, Pomeroy factors in actual results, preseason conference rankings are done by sports writers with Tarot cards.

Last season the Cougars finished 19-15 with no post season appearance, but according to Coach Mark Pope, he has been “playing the long game” in shaping this team in preparation for their first year in the B12. They had their European trip this past summer to help get ramped up. And it looks like it’s working. In their second game of the season, they knocked off 17th ranked San Diego State and they’ve already topped 100 points twice. (both of which makes Pomeroy smile)

So far this season they are 4-0 having beaten Houston Christian (KP #358) 110-63, San Diego St (KP # 31) 74-65, Southeastern Louisiana (KP #238) 105-48, and Morgan St (KP # 344) 93-50. That’s some impressive offensive output, no matter the opponent.

Vegas Showdown – Game 1

They played Arizona State tonight and it was barely a contest. The Sun Devils have 10 new players, and they have to replace 4 of 5 starters (one of whom is DJ Horne), so they are a work in progress and were unlikely to be up to this challenge this early. Pomeroy had BYU as an 11 point favorite, and that was no challenge at all. BYU had a 20+ point lead frequently. The final was 77-49.

The player to watch (aka guard!) is Noah Waterman. He’s a senior, 6’11” 220 and is an excellent player. His stat line in this one was 24 points, 7 rebounds, 1 assist, 6-9 from 3PT and 9-14 FG overall. No one else was in double figures. He has scored in double figures 3 of their five games. In their toughest game – against SDSU – he was held to zero points and fouled out, so hopefully Keatts has that film.

Team Statistical Comparison (BYU pre Vegas)

Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
Team PPG FG% 3PT% 3PT pg Reb pg Ast pg TO pg ST pg BL pg
NCS 81.8 46.20% 33.70% 7.3 37.3 15.5 8.8 9 3.5
BYU 95.5 49.10% 37% 13 48.5 23 9.8 7 3.3

Player Notes

BYU has a primary rotation of 8 players – all returnees from last season - averaging 17 minutes per game or more – along with at least 20 FGA, and no one averaging more than 27 per game.

Key Player Injuries – Not Expected to Play

Dawson Baker – (G, JR 6’4”) foot, has not played this season, started every game last season, 15.3 Ppg, 36.9% 3PT

Aly Khalifa – (C, JR 6’11”) knee, did not play in the last two games, started every game last season, 11.7 Ppg, 6.3 Rpg

BYU Probable Starters

Player Class Pos Height PTS 3PT% REB ASST BLK STL
Player Class Pos Height PTS 3PT% REB ASST BLK STL
Waterman SR F 6'11" 9 38% 7 1.3 0.5 0
Dallin Hall SO G 6'4" 9.8 44% 2.5 4.3 1
Traore JR C 6'6" 13.3 67% 6 1.8 0.8 1
Johnson SR G 6'5" 12 26% 5.3 6 0
Knell RS JR G 6'5" 13 44% 4.3 2.3 0.3 1

Keys To The Game

The Cougars are a very good team, averaging 95.5 Ppg, 48.5 Rpg, and 23 Apg. And once they get those two former starters back into the rotation, they will be very deep.

  • Guard the arc – Shooting 37.0% as a team, three players average better than 40%. They average 13 3PT per game. In their game against Southeastern Louisiana, they made 15 3PT shots, and shot 41.67% as a team. Against Az St they hit 14 at 42.4%.
  • Rebounding – They commit to rebounding at both ends of the court and do it well. They have 4 players averaging better than 5 Rpg (we have 1), and another 5 players averaging 3 or more Rpg. (we have 5 total players averaging 3+) They outrebounded Az St by 19.
  • Defend the passing lanes – They are excellent passers. They have 10 players with at least 3 assists on the season (we have 5), and they have 92 total assists (we have 45). Johnson averages 6.0 and Hall averages 4.3 assists per game.
  • And don’t forget Waterman!