The Cougars are looking to wrap up their non-conference schedule in a tough game against former WAC league mate UTEP who is an impressive 10-2. However, BYU will possibly be without star Jimmer Fredette who had strep throat but it is now known that he has mono. HIs lack of stamina was evident against UNLV where he only managed only 7 points on 2-10 shooting.
The Miners are a good team with a solid win over Oklahoma and have played Texas Tech and Mississippi very close for two of their three losses on the year. That third loss... to the New Mexico State Aggies who are only 8-7.
Back in the day this used to be part of the dreaded road trip with games at New Mexico and UTEP, and the goal was to go 1-1. That is not the case any more but UTEP is still a solid home team and is 21-4 dating back to last season and 9-1 this year at home.
Defense will be the key for BYU in this game since UTEP has four players who average in double figures and leading the way is Randy Culpepper who is averaging 18 points and then there is Derrick Caracter who gets 14.1 plus 9 boards a game. Caracter is a transfer from Louisville who is in his first year with the Miners, and the defensive responsibility will fall down to Noah Harstock and Jonathan Tavernari.
The outcome of this game is real simple. It will come down to the status of Jimmer Fredette and how well he plays, and then if BYU is able to take away one of the Miners double digit scorers. BYU is capable of running with UTEP which seems to be what they want to do, or they can grind it out.
Cougar fans should not be too concerned if they do lose to UTEP, because they are a good opponent and if Jimmer is out this will be a tough win to come by.
Prediction time via accuscore they have BYU winning 54.9% of the time with a score of 75.8 to 74.2. My prediction is that UTEP wins in a minor upset mainly because of the uncertainty of Jimmer Fredette.