This Wednesday at 7 p.m. the Hokies host BYU in a long-awaited non-conference game that will conclude Tech's non-conference slate this season. For this occasion, we have a first this season as Brett Hein, Managing Editor of BYU's SB Nation site Vanquish The Foe has joined us to give a preview of the Cougars. This is a really great opportunity for both sites since it's an unconventional non-conference game as fans of both teams probably don't get to see very much of the other because of time zones and regional networks. You can also read MY answers to Brett's questions here. For the preview, prove all your English teachers wrong and keep reading.
1. Nationally, people equate the success of BYU basketball solely to Jimmer Fredette. But that's just not true. Since 2000, BYU has only had one losing season and two seasons in which they lost 10 games or more. So the program has been incredibly consistent. With respect to that, I have to ask about the loss of Fredette to the NBA. How has it changed this team? How will they look different to Hokie fans who haven't seen them play a game since last year's tournament?
2. Last year Brandon Davies was dismissed from the basketball team mid-season for admitting that he had sex with his girlfriend. The story became a national media circus act, drawing both criticism and support from different parties. What was the general feeling within the BYU community about Davies' dismissal from the basketball team? Likewise, what is the feeling now that he is back? What does it say about the character of this young man that he admitted that he had violated the honor code, paid his dues, stayed at the University and has now worked to get back in their good graces and re-join the basketball team?
3. In their last game, both Davies and Noah Hartsock put up monster games against Pepperdine. But the Waves post players Taylor Darby and Corbin Moore also had big numbers across the board and shot tremendously well from the field. Is that a case of the two best (statistically) players on their team just having good games, BYU playing down to their competition defensively or that Pepperdine is bad and just like in any other basketball game SOMEONE has to score? Going into the Virginia Tech game, how do you think that Coach Rose will try to exploit Virginia Tech's weakness down low?
4. Against the Waves, Freshman guard Matt Carlino had an uncharacteristically poor game, failing to score and only dishing out two assists (far from his season averages of 12+ ppg. and 4+ apg.) What were the reasons for his struggles? Do you think he is up to the task of slowing down Virginia Tech's best player in Junior PG Erick Green? Is he what makes the offense go, and if so what would it take to win if he struggles?
5. The bench didn't produce as well as their season averages against Pepperdine and yet the final margin was pretty comfortable. Do you attribute that to the lack of minutes/production they saw with the Cougars going down early and having a dog-fight for the first 15 minutes of the first half and the first 10 minutes of the second half? Are slow starts something that has plagued the Cougars, because if so we're in for an offensive blackout at the start of this one! For the Cougars to come away with a win in this one, what do you think the bench has to do?
The kicker: What's your prediction for the final score?