CU men's basketball preview: Brigham Young
MATCHUP: BYU Cougars (6-2) at Colorado Buffaloes (7-1).
GAME TIME: Saturday, 6 p.m., Coors Events Center.
BROADCAST: Radio — 850 AM/94.1 FM; TV — Pac-12 Networks.
COACHES: BYU — Dave Rose, 11th season (263-90 at BYU and overall); Colorado — Tad Boyle, sixth season (115-69, 171-135 overall).
LEADERS: BYU — Scoring: G Chase Fischer, Sr., 16.0 ppg; Rebounding: F Kyle Davis, Jr., 11.3 rpg; Assists: G Kyle Collinsworth, Sr., 7.1 apg. Colorado — Scoring: F Josh Scott, Sr., 18.3 ppg; Rebounding: Scott, 9.8 rpg; Assists: G Dom Collier, So., 3.3 apg.
NOTABLE: CU's 3-point percentage of .423 is good for a tie for 13th in the nation ... Wes Gordon has averaged 10.7 points and 12.3 rebounds over the past three games ... Scott has recorded double-doubles in consecutive games and has posted four overall this season ... CU has recorded its two lowest turnover totals in the past two games, committing 11 against Fort Lewis and just seven at Colorado State ... The Cougars have lost their only two true road games.
Brigham Young is the toughest team the upstart Colorado men's basketball team has faced since its season opener a month ago.
Cougars senior Kyle Collinsworth might be the most dynamic individual talent the Buffaloes will prepare for all season.
In a collision that could prove to be equally challenging and entertaining, the Buffs will put their seven-game winning streak to the test Saturday night against Brigham Young at the Coors Events Center (6 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
Remarkably, this will be the first meeting between the nonconference regional rivals since Dec. 17, 1955.
"They're very good in transition, they've got great shooters, they've got very good interior players, and they've got Collinsworth who, to me, is as good a player as there is in college basketball in terms of doing everything," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "He scores. He rebounds. He makes plays for others. This is a formidable team."
Boyle expects Collinsworth to present myriad headaches unlike any single opposing player the Buffs will face this season. The BYU senior became the NCAA's all-time leader in career triple-doubles when a 26-point, 10-rebound, 10-assist effort against Belmont on Nov. 28 gave him seven triple-doubles for his career.
Through eight games this season, Collinsworth is averaging 14.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.1 assists.
"He likes to post the ball, so you try not to let him catch the ball in the post," said George King, one of the CU players expected to hound Collinsworth on Saturday night. "But if he does, you have to be physical with him and not foul him. I know we like to get up and down and I know they do too. So based on that it might be a high-scoring game."
Collinsworth is one of four BYU players averaging at least 12 points per game, a group that includes leading scorer Chase Fischer (16.0 ppg) and Kyle Davis, who also averages a team-leading 11.3 rebounds. CU is averaging 83.9 points a game and has scored at least 80 points in a school-record seven consecutive games. BYU averages 80.6 points per game.
"BYU has good inside players, there's no question, but their best player is Kyle Collinsworth," Boyle said. "Collinsworth is a 6-6 guard who is a do-it-all guy. Their bigs are good, very solid big guys and much better than the CSU big guys we played against. They've got two very good shooters on the wing and Collinsworth at the point. They're a very balanced team. I think this will be the best team we've played since Iowa State without a doubt."
The tipoff against BYU will end CU's longest game hiatus of the season so far for the Buffs during a week that also saw the team concentrating on end-of-semester finals. While the ingredients might be in line for a letdown — coming off an emotional rivalry win while facing off-the-court distractions — Buffs leader Josh Scott promised such a scenario is not in the makeup of this particular CU squad.
"It's probably one of the bigger games on our schedule, so if there's a mental letdown whoever is letting down — whether it's an individual player or the team — shouldn't be playing," Scott said. "It's a big game for us. It's been busy this week, but all of us have been here before. It's part of being a college basketball player."