First off, for those hoping to watch the game (BYU vs. Wisconsin) tonight, it is on the Big Ten Network. If you're trying to find the Big Ten Network, use its ChannelFinder or visit http://btn.com/about/btn-channelfinder/
You can also listen to Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant call the action on KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM or on KSL.com. For a list of all the options to follow the game, visit the GameDay page. Tipoff is at 7 pm CST.
While it's early in the 2011-12 college basketball season, the early part of BYU's season has been defined by the word opportunity. Coming off a 2010-11 season in which the Cougars set numerous program records, advanced to the Sweet 16 and saw an all-time great lead the nation in scoring and be named National Player of the Year (I'm talking about Jimmer Fredette in case you were wondering), there were a lot of questions among fans and the media about this team.
Who would pick up the scoring slack? Who would run the point? Where would the leadership come from? Several Cougars have taken advantage of the opportunity of increased playing time and leadership roles and have begun to answer some of those questions.
Noah Hartsock has taken the opportunity to prove that he can be a consistent scorer as he's scored in double figures every game, hit shots inside, midrange and from deep, and leads the team at 16.6 points per game. Charles Abouo is proving that he can fill the role of an all-around player, averaging 14.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals while shooting a blistering 68.8 percent from three. Brandon Davies has taken the opportunity to prove he can be an even bigger lowpost threat than last season (12.6 points per game) while also being a facilitator (3.0 assist per game).
Maybe more than anyone else, Anson Winder has taken advantage of an opportunity given him by the coaching staff and flourished. After not playing at Utah State, and playing only two minutes against BYU-Hawaii, Dave Rose inserted the redshirt freshman at point guard against Longwood and Prairie View A&M and he proceeded to score 19 points and dish out nine assists in 46 minutes. He got his first start vs. Nevada at the Chicago Invitational and played 38 minutes, scored nine points and totaled four boards, four assists and four steals. Aside from the stats, Anson created numerous transition opportunities, broke the Nevada press and defended well against the Wolfpack guards.
Tonight will be another opportunity for the Cougars as they take on preseason All-America point guard Jordan Taylor and No. 11 Wisconsin in the Chicago Invitational Challenge Championship game at 7 p.m. CST at the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The game will be a great opportunity for BYU to play against one of the best teams and players in the country and for several players to further emerge in the new roles they've been given and claimed in this young season.