BYU is going to be playing their first game without starting center Brandon Davies who was suspended for the rest of the season for violating BYU's Honor Code, and it will be BYU's chance to avenge their only conference loss against the New Mexico Lobos. We will get to see what BYU's head coach Dave Rose will do with his lineup that is now much smaller due to the suspension.
BYU already runs well and they have a solid transition game, but most of that is predicated on getting rebounds, and now with BYU being a smaller lineup they may have less chances to fast break. However, they can still run by quickly inbounding the ball after made baskets to force the Lobos and other teams to keep pace.The game tonight will be interesting to see what BYU does, if anything. BYU may just play it safe and insert their next big man in the game and run their same style of play until they figure if a change needs to be made.
This matchup is at the Marriott Center in Provo where BYU has yet to lose this season which means a New Mexico upset is going to be tough to come by. The Lobos are in must-win mode if they want to have any shot of making the NCAA tournament as an at-large team. They have lost four-of-five games with a bad loss against Utah, and while a win over No. 3 ranked BYU it may not be enough to get them in the tournament. The Lobos are currently 6-8 in the Mountain West and even though the Mountain West has the fourth best RPI as a league I highly doubt the selection committee will put in a .500 league record team from the Mountain West. They will need to make it to the Mountain West finals while beating BYU and Air Force for a shot.
As for tonight's game, look for New Mexico to try to take advantage of BYU's lack of size down low by playing more of a post game and getting their bigs involved. Forward Drew Gordon is a player to watch for New Mexico tonight, he already averages a double-double with 12 points and 10 boards per game. BYU shown to be vulnerable against San Diego State at times by allowing second chance points to the Aztecs.
Tonight's game will be interesting as BYU is motivated for losing to New Mexico earlier in the season and we will see what BYU does differently without Davies. My guess is that Jimmer Fredette (about time he gets mentioned in the last line) will do what he does and try to take over the game himself.
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