With St. Mary’s and Gonzaga losing unexpectedly last week, the West Coast Conference race suddenly got a little more interesting for BYU fans.
Matchup | Preview
BYU Cougars (23-6) vs Gonzaga Bulldogs (21-5)
Thursday February 23
McCarthey Athletic Center – Spokane, WA
Moneyline: No moneyline posted at this time
Spread: Gonzaga -6.5
Bet Now At Bovada.lv (Bodog If Your In Canada)
It is still a long shot for the Cougars to win the conference but if they can finish ahead of brand name Gonzaga in the regular season standing it could help them pass the eye test with the tournament selection committee.
To do so they pretty much have to win at Gonzaga Thursday as there are only 2 games left on the schedule. The Cougars are 8-2 on the road this year.
The Cougars have won 5 in row beating the teams they are supposed to beat, including the Zags in Provo earlier this month. This team is ranked 9th in the country in scoring with forward Noah Hartsock and Brandon Davies improving their production in the absence of Jimmer.
Both forwards played well when these teams locked up earlier this month.
Especially Hartsock who had his best game of the year with 25 points and a season high 14 rebounds.
To win on the road they are going to need a similar effort.
BYU vs. Gonzaga
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are looking to right the ship after a surprising road loss at San Francisco last week.
The loss prevented them from capitalizing on St. Mary’s recent struggles and now they need to fend off the Cougars just to finish second in the league after dominating the WCC for years.
I thought it was a given than the Zags were having their dance card punched but now I am not so sure.
Beating BYU would go a long way to helping their cause in every which way this season.
It would mean they beat a new rival, maintain their current place in the WCC standings and build some momentum heading into the conference tournament. Against San Francisco the Bulldogs were awful with turnovers. They shot 50%+ from the field but turned it over 21 times leading to their downfall.
If they do that against BYU they will be embarrassed on their own home floor. A place where they have lost just once this season.
Spread Pick: Gonzaga -6.5
O/U Pick: Over
Score Prediction: Gonzaga 82 – BYU 75
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