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Game Preview: Long Beach State's brutal stretch begins with BYU

Long Beach State is set to embark on yet another insane non-conference slate. Their first real challenge comes when the Cougars come to town for the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

BYU Cougars (1-0) at Long Beach State 49ers (1-0)

TV: ESPN2
Time: 10:45 p.m. Pacific
Last Meeting: BYU won 95-90 on 11/14/2014

Scouting the Cougars

This year's Cougars play the same up-tempo style that we've grown accustomed to. They'll be entertaining, as always, but they might be better than they've been since Jimmer.

Despite the loss of all-time leading scorer Tyler Haws, the Cougars haven't missed a beat on offense.

As always, the BYU back court will light it up. Kyle Collinsworth is one triple-double away from making the NCAA career triple-double record his alone. He nearly made it so against Utah Valley, with a 17 point, 9 rebound and 7 assist outing. Benefiting from Collinsworth's passing is sharp-shooting senior Chase Fischer, who has unlimited range with the catch-and-shoot.

Unlike last year, when the Cougars were forced to play four guards far too often, BYU actually has bigs this season. Utah State transfer Kyle Davis exploded for a 17 point, 20 rebound game in his BYU debut. Adding Davis to the mix of Corbin Kaufusi and redshirt senior Nate Austin and BYU all of the sudden has a veteran and more-than-serviceable front court.

Scouting The Beach

Long Beach State lost all five starters from last year's 16-17 squad —a somewhat misleading record considering the 49ers always brutal non-conference schedule. Dan Monson's new group got a bit of a tune-up on Saturday, with a 91-57 victory over BYU-Hawai'i.

A.J. Spencer returns for his senior season after missing last year with a knee injury. The 6-foot-3 guard makes a living inside the arc and can be counted on to take care of the ball. While he won't have familiar faces around him, he won't have to work with unknown commodities either.

A trio of impact transfers will be looked upon to help Spencer keep things afloat on the beach.

Roschon Prince, a sophomore forward from USC, led the 49ers in their opener with 16 points. Nick Faust, a senior guard from Maryland, is a capable three point shooter who finds his points even if his shot isn't falling. The third transfer is no stranger to BYU. Sophomore forward Gabe Levin spent the first year of his career playing for conference rival LMU. The 6-foot-7 forward had nine points and seven rebounds in his Long Beach debut.

There are a lot of question marks and new parts on this Long Beach State team. With all five starters gone from last year, and one game this year coming against a D-II squad, not much is clear. Recent, post-Casper Ware history suggests the offense won't be all that great. Shooting percentages against BYU-Hawaii were good across the board, however.

Prediction

Long Beach State won't be able to match BYU's offensive output. If the 49ers want to win with defense, they'll have to play a lot of defense, considering BYU's rebounding ability and uptempo offense. Their best bet will be to slow the game down and control the tempo — Dan Monson's teams have been around the middle of the pack in terms of tempo for the past few seasons.

That probably won't happen. The Cougars are the better team and they will play the game they want to play. Expect the Cougars to run off into the early morning hours of the Tip-Off Marathon with a win.