As fans prepare for the upcoming showdown, here are three stories for fans to keep an eye on, heading into Saturday.
Adjusting to a new home
After a rough 0-2 start to begin their Big 12 era, the Cougars rattled a pair of wins to move to 14-3 and 2-2 in conference play in the new Big 12.
“It couldn’t be any more fun,” said Cougars head coach Mark Pope, ahead of BYU’s showdown with the Red Raiders. “I don’t know how I thought it was going to shake down. And you know, that is the crazy thing… you do not know what is going to happen in the next four games.”
Despite the up-and-down start to conference play, the Cougar’s confidence remains high after their 12-1 start.
“I mean all the games we played, we felt like we can play with anybody,” said BYU senior Jaxson Robinson. “We play a lot of the top teams in the country and we compete. So just making sure that we stay confident in what we got going on, and making sure that we’re aggressive in every aspect of the game and I think we’ll pull away with a lot of wins.”
Richie playing big
BYU coaches and players rave about the impact that sophomore Richie Saunders has on their basketball team.
“How can you not like Richie Saunders,” Pope said. “He plays at one speed. He literally only knows one speed, for good and for bad… He’s really special. You talk about a guy who vomits his whole heart and soul out on the floor every game. It’s pretty cool and there’s no coach in America that would not do everything that they could to have Richie Saunders on their roster.”
Saunders’ work ethic stands out to his teammates.
“Dude is relentless,” Robinson said. “He keeps going to the offensive and defensive glass. He guards their best player most times. He does everything. And I mean, he’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever played with, to be honest with you.”
Getting ready for the Red Raiders
BYU will be facing the 25-ranked Red Raiders on Saturday in a hostile road environment.
“They are a tough, gritty team,” Robinson said. “We know we got a huge challenge coming into Lubbock. So, we’ve gotta make sure we come in ready.”
“They played a tough Houston team,” Robinson said. “I know last night didn’t go their way, but they’re definitely super hungry. So, we got to make sure we come in ready to play.”
Fans can stream Saturday’s tilt on ESPN+.