Do both No. 21 BYU and No. 4 Houston contend for the national championship?

Do both No. 21 BYU and No. 4 Houston contend for the national championship?

On Tuesday, there is no more intriguing collegiate basketball contest than the Cougars’ matchup in Provo. An opponent-rich matchup between No. 21 BYU and No. 4 Houston is ripe with academic intrigue.

This contest, which marks the programs’ inaugural meeting as Big 12 Association adversaries, will undoubtedly captivate nerds.

Both sets for the Cougars are ranked within the AP Top 25, and in the NET rankings, Houston is ranked first and BYU is ranked fifth.

Furthermore, the red Cougars are ranked as the preeminent team in the nation by KenPom, while the blue Cougars are positioned at No. 10.

Since the 2011 matchup between Jimmer Fredette and Kawhi Leonard or San Diego State, the Marriott Center has not witnessed a contest of such calculated brilliance.

The central focus of the evening’s events ought to be the performance of Houston’s elite defense against the efficient offense of BYU. With an efficiency rating of 120.7, Mark Pope’s squad ranks thirteenth in the nation.

In contrast, Houston’s top-rated 85.6 adjusted defense mark is unmatched by any other team.

Although both teams are represented by the Cougar mascot, No. 21 BYU and No. 4 Houston’s playing styles could not be more dissimilar before Tuesday’s Big 12 matchup at the Jacksonville Marriott Center.

Since the start of the season, Houston (3-2, 16-2) has consistently been one of the nation’s top defensive teams.

“The current stretch of games is insane.” “At this time, there is not much emotional time to waste.” “We have Houston at home in a monumental game in 72 hours, so let’s get started.”

BYU (2-3, 14-4) is considered one of the nation’s top offensive teams, but their record has declined since entering Big 12 play and facing much more formidable opponents than they did during the nonconference portion of the schedule.

“This Big 12 program is not a joke,” said BYU center Richie Saunders, a 6-foot-5 sophomore to Riverton who spent his senior year of high school attending Wasatch Academy in central Utah.

Before facing No. 24 Iowa State, No. 25 Texas Tech (now No. 20), and No. 4 Houston in the 1980-81 NCAA Tournament, this is the first time since that season that BYU has faced three consecutive ranked opponents.

In that tournament, BYU defeated No. 10 UCLA and No. 7 Notre Dame before falling in the Final Eight to No. 5 Virginia as well as Ralph Sampson.

Sunday’s 85-78 loss to Texas Tech notwithstanding, BYU head coach Mark Pope stated, “The gauntlet of games will continue to push us to improve, and we are thrilled about it.”

The Red Raiders defeated the Cougars 53-30 within the second half and held an 18-5 advantage during the free-throw line due to the impact of Texas Tech’s crowd; therefore, Pope hopes to experience a comparable ambiance in Provo.

Pope told the BYU Sports Radio Network, “It was so devastating to us that we were unable to deliver the victory (at United Supermarkets Arena) to Lubbock.” “However, as a group, we are still developing and will continue to improve.”

BYU must find a way to score toward arguably the most talented defense in the nation to secure victory.

Houston limited UCF to seven field goals on 44 attempts in their 57-42 victory over the Cougars last Saturday.

The Knights made only 3 of 23 2-point field goal attempts as well as 4 of 21 3-point attempt attempts.