The independent Wolverines only return one starter from last year’s squad that went 22-7 and should have beaten the Vikings. They play in the beautiful 8,500 seat McKay Center in Orem, Utah, which was opened in 1996. They are lead by junior guard Ryan Toolson who hit on all 5 three point attempts in Portland last year and averages 19.5 per game this season. Toolson, like Erik Ainge, is also related to Danny Ainge, the former BYU great and NBA star. The second leading scorer and the leading rebounder is Jordan Brady.
UV: Joe Walker PSU: Scott Morrison
Walker is a decent shot blocker, and a serviceable center against some, however, against Morrison, the 6’8″ senior from Long Beach might have some trouble. He’s not much of a scoring threat, so the Wolverines will be hoping that Walker can use his defensive abilities to neutralize Morrison. So far this season, that hasn’t worked with Morrison averaging 11.7 per contest and a modest 5.7 boards per contest that would likely be much higher on a smaller team.
UV: Jordan Brady PSU: Tyrell Mara
Mara will have to make a major adjustment in this contest. Against Portland he was unable to deal with Luke Sikma’s inside ability, and this match-up will be another one with a talented rebounder. However, Mara doesn’t have a height disadvantage, so there’s a chance he will be able to neutralize Brady. Mara has continued to impress this season, so I’m guessing he’ll be able to hold his own. That said, Brady’s season statistics are superior to those of Mara, and so I’ll give him a slight edge, even though Mara’s contributions surpass those on the offensive end.
UV: Richard Troyer PSU: Deonte Huff
After a tough night shooting the ball on Wednesday, D-Huff will look to rebound. For Viking fans, the hope is that the step up in competition will bring out the best in him. Troyer is the third leading scorer for the Wolverines averaging 9.5 points per game, so he should be a fairly decent match-up, but Huff is clearly the better player.
UV: Ryan Toolson PSU: Dupree Lucas
When Lucas is on, he’s been completely unstoppable. However, as Wednesday night showed, he is still a slow starter. Toolson is the most important piece of the Wolverine squad, and will need to come up with another big game for them to have a chance tomorrow.
UV: Josh Olsen PSU: Jeremiah Dominguez
Olsen hasn’t shown much statistically this year, and Dominguez shouldn’t have any trouble winning this battle. Jabir Jinna is the sixth man for the Wolverines, and he comes off the bench with great shooting ability. However, no matter who is out there, I think Dominguez is better.
The Wolverines are 3-3, but they came within one point of winning at Boise State, and were competitive in their loss against Marquette. They are a tough team to beat, as the Vikings know from their game last season, and should be especially so at home. On the other hand, they also lost a lot from last year’s team, and I don’t believe they can compete outside a couple of positions.
Prediction: PSU 74-70