Utah barely escaped 2-6 Southern Utah the other night AT HOME, 88-86. It was a 5 or 6 point game nearly the entire 2nd half. Utah couldn’t pull away and SUU wouldn’t go away. SUU was 12-26 (.462) from deep, and UofU only made 5 3s the entire game. If Utah doesn’t do a better job guarding the 3 pt line vs BYU, it won’t matter if Brandon Carlson goes 22/15. I think Brandon Carlson will make an NBA roster. He’s legit. He sat out the SUU game with some fake injury to rest up for the BYU game. The Pukes have a couple guards (Madsen and Worster) who are tough and can score, but BYU’s 2s and 3s are almost all more athletic than those guys. If BYU can guard without fouling, we will shut them down.
Utah will have a significant size advantage. Their bigs are 7’0", 6’8", 7’1", and 6’9", and 3 of them average over 20 mpg and the other 15mpg. But as a group they are not terribly athletic. BYU as a group is VERY athletic. If we outrebound them I’ll be very impressed but not too surprised.
It’s important to note that a couple years ago when Utah beat BYU, it was probably the worst officiated game in the history of organized basketball. After the game Coach Pope famously said (approximately) when asked about the officiating, “Oh, those were the best officials ever. Best officiated game ever. Those guys should be in the hall of fame for best officials ever.” Huge roast.
My guess is we get the same terrible P12/WCC/West Coast officials that we have suffered in the past. Remember just a few years ago the P12 had a giant scandal when the officials were forced to admit they were overtly favoring teams. If you google Pac12 officiating you can spend all day down a rabbit hole reading about how 1) terrible and 2) corrupt they are.
If the officiating is even moderately fair, and BYU defends the perimeter, I think we win by 10. We will make 3s and I don’t think Utah can beat us making 2s. Again, everything changes if the officials intentionally put their finger on the scale.