The Preview You Must View: Baylor @ BYU

First of all welcome back to the college basketball season. Thanks to final exams for most colleges and universities, some of us fans (well me) looked at this week's uninteresting matchups and decided to do other things with our spare time. We've waited long enough so let's get to some real hoops.

Believe it or not, Brigham Young has had the upper hand in the all-time series with the Bears, leading 5-2. That includes the Cougars winning four of five games in Provo. The talented Baylor Bears (#6 Associated Press/#7 USA Today) will certainly have their hands full with the BYU Cougars at the always raucous Marriott Center. More after the jump.

BYU (8-2) is doing just fine in their first season post-Jimmer Fredette. A couple of players from last year's Elite Eight team have stepped up nicely to fill important roles. Senior forward Noah Hartsock has doubled his scoring average from 8.6 to 17.3 and is swatting nearly three shots a game. Fellow senior forward/guard Charles Abouo is averaging seven boards a contest, up two from 2010-11's 4.8. And then there's Brandon Davies, whose in-season suspension last year sparked a national controversy. He's third on the team in scoring and rebounding.

Between Hartsock, Abouo and Davies, their cumulative rebound average is about 21 per game. BYU has a great chance Saturday because they rebound and knock down outside shots so well. And those 22,000+ fans screaming in your favor are a major reason why they've only lost five home games dating back to the 2005-06 season.

Baylor (8-0) has played a pillowsoft schedule with their only quality win coming in November vs San Diego State. But this is a important stretch as they get ready to play five games in twelve days, including tilts with Saint Mary's, West Virginia and Mississippi State.

Guard Pierre Jackson is coming on strong just in time too. The man who was the subject of our 'Spotlight' in October has been efficient, averaging 11.9 points and 4.4 assists in only 23 minutes of action. Perry Jones III hasn't missed a beat since returning to the court, leading the team in scoring. We also may get our first look at Cal transfer Gary Franklin, whose addition means forward J'Mison Morgan will redshirt the rest of this season.

This game is not one of the more glamorous games on the weekend docket, but here's one that is the textbook definition of a trap game for Baylor. Enough things can go in BYU's favor to get first their quality win of the season. A win for the Bears in Provo would really look attractive while building their résumé for a possible number one seed come March. Trap games are usually action-packed but the Bears should the ones left standing with a major road W.

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