Big task at hand against Baylor

This is when the Marriott Center is at its best. It's electric during big games, and Saturday is definitely big with No. 6 Baylor in town. Highly ranked non-conference teams playing in the Marriott Center are a rarity. BYU last hosted such a team three years ago (No. 6 Wake Forest), so Saturday's game against a very big Baylor team is, well, big.

The Baylor game is drawing comparisons to the Wake Forest game several seasons back. BYU has had huge matchups against conferences foes at home – most notably No. 4 San Diego State last season and No. 10 New Mexico the year before – but almost never gets to host ranked non-conference teams, or even teams from one of the power conferences for that matter.

Baylor is even coincidentally ranked No. 6, the same ranking Wake Forest had. And while Coach Rose said the two teams play different styles, he can see similarities in their size and athleticism.

"This is a really long, athletic team that switches defense a lot," Rose said about Baylor, which is 8-0. "They have a real balanced scoring team."

The Bears average 77.3 points per game, despite not having star player Perry Jones for the first five games of the season.

Rose shared a different comparison when evaluating Baylor.

"It's a team that reminds me a lot of the team that I played on," said Rose, a member of the Phi Slamma Jamma Houston team featuring Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon. "They're just a lot of long, athletic guys who are very skilled, and that's kind of a unique collection. And then with the point guards they have, they can draw a little bit of help and then get guys open."

Noah Hartsock, meanwhile, said Baylor reminds him of the Kansas State team that defeated BYU in the NCAA Tournament two seasons ago. He also saw similarities in last year's San Diego State squad.

Baylor boasts a lot of talent, especially in the frontcourt. In fact, two Bear forwards – sophomore Perry Jones and freshman Quincy Miller – are projected to be NBA lottery picks should they enter the draft after this season. Jones was projected to be a top-five pick in the 2011 draft before he decided to return to Baylor.

They are also the two leading scorers. The 6-foot-11-inch, 235-pound Jones averages15.7 points per game, while the 6-foot-9-inch, 210 pound Miller averages 12.3. Meanwhile, 6-foot-7-inch, 225-pound senior forward Quincy Acy is third on the team with 12 points per game, and more than half of his career field goals have been dunks.

The Bears had 10 dunks in their last outing against Bethune-Cookman, which Rose said was probably more than his team has had this season.

While Baylor's frontline gets most of the attention, the Bears have talent elsewhere as well.

"It's really hard to try and take one thing away from them," said Rose. "It's hard to use a second defender on anybody because they're all very capable scorers, and what you have to do is kind of stop all of them from having big nights [at the same time], and hopefully you can keep them under control."

Fourth-leading scorer Pierre Jackson is shooting a team-high 60 percent from outside (Miller is second at 46.7 percent), and Rose said he is a very good offensive point guard that can share the ball.

Depending on whether Jackson or A.J. Walton is running the point, Baylor's style of play and tempo are different according to Rose. The Bears also get Cal transfer Gary Franklin (guard) eligible for the first time on Saturday, much like BYU gets UCLA transfer Matt Carlino eligible.

Ultimately, however, Baylor's strength is in its post players – much like with BYU this year – and they can create issues not just in scoring the basketball, but in the battle of the boards as well.

"They're so tall and long that you're gonna have to really respect your rebounding position, and that's what we're gonna have to do," said Rose. "We're gonna have to keep a body on a body and try to make sure that we can get them to miss and then rebound the missed shots."


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