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Player-by-player breakdown: Brigham Young vs. Iona

The Marquette Golden Eagles will not know their opponent until late Tuesday night, when the Brigham Young Cougars face the Iona Gaels for the No. 14 seed in the West region.

A breakdown of Tuesday night’s winner will come later, but for now here is a player breakdown of each team, followed by three keys that will decide Tuesday night’s affair in Dayton.

*Note* Player’s numbers are in parentheses.

BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS

Known more for his suspension last season, Brandon Davies (0) has put all that in the past and put together a stellar junior campaign. His 15.0 points per game are second on the team, and he averages a team-high 7.3 rebounds per game. He has been asked to take on a larger offensive role without Jimmer Fredette, and he has succeeded in doing so. Some of his efficiency numbers are down from a year ago, but overall Davies has been the best player in a Cougar uniform this year.

Power forward Noah Hartsock (34)complements Davies perfectly in the front court. The 6-foot-8 senior has taken his game to another level in his final year, averaging 16.7 points on 56.5 percent shooting, and 5.2 rebounds. He has range extended out to 15 feet and will attempt an occasional 3-pointer. The 24-year-old has good length, blocking 1.6 shots per game. He is still recovering from a knee injury that cost him his Senior Night, but did play 27 and 30 minutes in the Cougars’ two WAC Tournament contests.

Brandon Davies has shaken off last year's suspension to lead the Cougars to a potential second round matchup against Marquette. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Redshirt freshman Matt Carlino (10) has done well running the point this year. He has good size at 6-foot-2 and puts up solid assist numbers, but his shooting has been inconsistent. In his last five games, his scoring totals were 2, 18, 8, 8 and 12. Still, he has games of 21, 22 and 30 points, so he can go off against a weaker, smaller point guard.

24-year-old senior Charles Abouo (1) has been another Cougar to step out of the Jimmer Fredette shadow in 2011. His 11.5 points and 6.5 rebounds are fourth and third on the team, respectively, and he has more than tripled his assist output from a year ago, from 0.8 to 2.6 per game. He likes to shoot and is a threat from beyond the arc, and is an above average wing defender at 6-foot-5.

By far, the most improved Cougar this year has been 6-foot-6 shooter Brock Zylstra (13). 49 of his 93 field goal makes have come from beyond the arc, and he shoots a team-best 38 percent from there. The Cougars do not rely on the 3-pointer much, but when they do Zylstra is their go-to player.

6-foot-8 reserve Stephen Rogers (21) is working back from knee surgery that cost him 15 games down the stretch. He has not played more than 12 minutes in a game since Dec. 10, and is clearly not ready to be an impact player for the Cougars. Before his injury, Rogers averaged 9.9 points per game.

In Rogers’ absence, 6-foot-10 center Nate Austin (33) has seen increased minutes. He has struggled, fouling out in four of the last seven games, despite not playing more than 18 minutes in any. He has good height, but his frame is much too thin and he is learning on the fly. He is more of a defensive stopper than anything, having racked up 10 rebounds in 17 minutes against Gonzaga in a Feb. 23 win.

Freshmen guards Anson Winder (20) and Josh Cusick (2), and forward Josh Sharp (12) round out the Brigham Young rotation, but the three provide limited value, with Winder leading the rookie trio with 4.3 points and 1.6 rebounds.

IONA GAELS

Former Junior College star and first team All-MAAC forward Mike Glover (1) has led the Gaels to one of the program’s most successful seasons. He averaged 18.5 points on over 64 percent shooting, and 9.5 rebounds in the regular season. The 6-foot-7 Glover is a beast in the paint, refusing to be outworked and as physical as they come inside. He runs the court well, an important trait in the Gaels’ up-and-down offense.

A member of Arizona’s Elite 8 team a year ago, Lamont “Momo” Jones (2)has a knack for scoring. He scored 43 points in a win over Canisius this year and scored 20 or more points 10 other times. The 6-foot guard from Harlem is a fantastic finisher and is great on the break for the Gaels. He is an explosive scorer and someone who is helped out greatly by the next featured player.

Mike Glover is as tough as they come in college basketball. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)

One player in the country averages more assists per game than North Carolina’s Kendall Marshall: Iona’s Scott Machado (3). The 6-foot-1 point guard handed out 12 or more assists nine different times this year, and still managed to average 13.6 points per game. His 3.1 assist-to-turnover was tied for fourth in the nation, a remarkable stat considering the number of passes he made. He is truly the engine that makes the Gaels’ offense run.

The highest-scoring offense in the country needs a 3-point specialist, and that’s where sophomore shooting guard Sean Armand (22) comes in. 77 of his 103 field goals have been 3-pointers, and he is shooting at a 46.7 percent clip from beyond the arc, 11th best in the country.

Taaj Ridley (0), an athletic 6-foot-7 forward, is efficient in his 19 minutes per game. He averages 6.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while shooting over 51 percent from the field. He and Armand complement each other on minutes, depending on the situation.

Junior guard Kyle Smyth (33) and senior point guard Jermel Jenkins (10) are quick athletes off the bench who add to the Gaels’ uptempo second line. 6-foot-5 wing Randy Dezouvre (23) has seen increased minutes lately, giving the Gaels some sort of size past Glover and Ridley.

THREE KEYS

1. Size vs. speed: The Cougars are the 21st tallest team in the country. The Gaels are the 22nd fastest team in the country. Whichever team can assert their biggest strength on Tuesday will come out victorious. Can Brigham Young bring enough physicality inside to slow down the Gaels’ uptempo attack, or will Machado, Jones and Armand shoot lights out while Glover picks up the scraps?

2. Iona for three: Brigham Young opponents are shooting 31.5 percent from 3, while Iona is shooting over 39 percent from deep this year. Given that both teams excel on two-pointers, Iona’s ability to shoot from outside, and BYU’s ability to stop it could determine a winner. Iona needs to shoot well from outside both to stretch the taller BYU defense and to slow the Cougars’ pace.

3. Taking care of the ball: Iona thrives on steals to start its uptempo pace, but Brigham Young is one of the best teams in the country at taking care of the ball. Something has to give Tuesday night.

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