BYU Basketball Hosts San Diego State For First Time Since Jimmermania
PROVO, Utah – BYU Basketball hosts former Mountain West Conference rival San Diego State on Saturday in the Marriott Center for the first time since 2011.
The Cougars (1-0) take on the Aztecs (1-0) for only the third time since BYU left the MWC for the West Coast Conference in 2011. The last game in Provo was an all-time classic when BYU had Jimmer Fredette and Brandon Davies while San Diego State had Kawhi Leonard. It was the peak of the BYU-SDSU rivalry.
BYU has dominated for a majority of the rivalry all-time, but the Aztecs have won the two meetings since the Cougars joined the WCC. Including a game last year at Viejas Arena.
History aside, both teams have new faces that haven’t experienced this rivalry first-hand. BYU head coach Mark Pope knows this will be a tough challenge for his team.
“They’re really long, man are they long,” Pope said when discussing San Diego State. “They have an all-star backcourt … but they are just so long. There might be some shock when people see us walking on the court with San Diego State on the floor. We’re hoping there will be a shock when we walk off the floor too and people say, how did that happen? That’s what we’re hoping for.”
The Aztecs all-star backcourt that Pope referenced features Washington State transfer Malachi Flynn and former WCC foe K.J Feagin who’s a grad transfer from Santa Clara. In the frontcourt, the Aztecs have a pair of 6-10 players that could pose challenges for BYU’s smaller lineup.
BYU will look to counter San Diego State’s size and length with sharp shooting from the outside. The Cougars knocked down 11 three-pointers in their season-opening win against Cal State Fullerton, which tied the season-high for threes in a game last season.
Senior guard TJ Haws and Arizona transfer Alex Barcello form a backcourt that has star power as well to counter the Aztecs star guard line. Which should make for some great matchups.
Will it be as great as the 2011 matchup? We can only hope to be so lucky.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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