- The BYU Cougars face off with the Utah State Aggies at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah, at 9:00 pm ET on Saturday
- Utah State announced that a limited number of fans (1,628) will be allowed to attend this game
- See the odds, spread, analysis, and best bet below
The BYU Cougars are 4-1 on the season after beating St. John’s 74-68 Wednesday in their final game of the Roman Legends Classic in Connecticut. Now they return to their home state, travelling to Logan to face the Utah State Aggies (1-2) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday (Dec. 5th, 9:00 pm ET).
Aggies coach Craig Smith tested positive for Covid -19 and will not be in attendance for this game.
This series dates back to 1905 with the Cougars leading the all-time head-to-head 144-92. Utah State is favored by 1.5 points in this matchup.
BYU Cougars vs Utah State Aggies Odds
|BYU Cougars||+1.5 (-108)||+108||144.5 (-108)|
|Utah State Aggies||-1.5 (-112)||-126||144.5 (-112)|
Odds as of December 4th at FanDuel.
BYU Is Finding Its Way
BYU lost 70% of its scoring from last season but so far they have only failed to score 70 or more points once. They overcame a sluggish start in a 74-68 win over St. John’s last time out. The Cougars were good enough from long range going 10-27 from three-point land which is right at their normal 37% from that distance this season.
Alex Barcello has stepped up so far for BYU averaging 18.4 points per game which nearly doubles his season scoring average of 9.3 from last year. He did the heavy lifting in the scoring department against St. John’s with 20 points. It was his third 20 point outing in five games so far this season.
The @Roman Player of the Game goes to Alex Barcello of @BYUbasketball. He finished with 20 pts. (8/11 FG) 5 ast. 3 reb. in the winning effort. pic.twitter.com/I4vKp3YsX3
— Legends Classic (@LegendsBBall) December 3, 2020
Two other Cougars’ starters reached double figures as Brandon Averette netted 12 and Connor Harding chimed in with 11 points on ten shots. Gideon George was a spark plug off the bench with 13 points and 15 rebounds. It was his first double double of the season and should lead to more playing time.
Utah State is Struggling Defensively
The Aggies rank in the 300’s out of 357 teams in the nation in opponent field goal percentage which will need to change in a hurry. They did a much better job in their last game by holding Northern Iowa to a season-low 36% from the field. For the first time this season, every starter played at least 30 minutes so that could be a contributing factor.
Big man Neemias Queta tore up the Panthers front court with a 15 point, 10 rebound performance. He also added four blocks and a steal for good measure. He has been a force on both ends of the floor since coming to Utah State and that was certainly the case against Northern Iowa.
Besides they are different as College Players, their fundamentals are the same.
Both prioritise defense, with attention for the blocking ability.
All the rebounds are to win(re-jump is good)
They’re both big men with nice touch for passing the ball and reading the game. pic.twitter.com/b04TYMJ4Bw
— Martim Figueiredo (@martimfs) December 1, 2020
The Aggies came one Brock Miller point away from seeing all five starters reach double figures against the Panthers. Marco Anthony led the way with 22, Rollie Worster had 17 and Justin Bean had 15 to go along with his 10 rebounds.
Best Betting Angle
It’s not easy to trust a team like BYU this early in the season given the turnover of their roster but it could pay off. This one could come down to the three-point line and can Utah State defend it. If they can’t, BYU has the advantage.
So far this season, Alex Barcello been nothing short of spectacular from beyond the arc. In 21 attempts he’s hit 13 of them and while it seems unsustainable, there’s reason to believe he can keep it up against the Aggies.
On the season, Utah State has allowed opponents to shoot 44.3% from three-point distance. Even in their win against Northern Iowa, they allowed to Panthers to connect on 38% of their three-point attempts. BYU is a team that wants to shoot from distance. They are currently 49th in the nation in three pointers attempted with 27.2 per game.
Barcello is only one of four Cougars who have attempted at least 20 three-pointers this season. Connor Harding, Brandon Averette and Trevin Knell have all supposed that total. Of the four, only one, Harding, shoots under 40% and even he shoots 37%. They call the three-point shot the great equalizer and it could prove to be that and more in this game.
Pick: BYU moneyline (+108)