The Brigham Young University Cougars have won 4 of their last 5 games to stand at 13-9. The BYU cagers outlasted Portland, Santa Clara and Pepperdine, then dropped a West Coast Conference battle to San Francisco before getting back on track with a 71-66 win over St. Mary’s at Marriott Center in Provo. Any way you slice it, BYU is a respectable college hoops team from a well-respected league.
The Cougars just aren’t respected enough to be considered a worthy foe for Gonzaga, the #4 ranked team in Division 1. The Bulldogs will visit Provo on Thursday night with a tip-off time of 8 PM PST.
Gonzaga is the hottest shooting team in the nation, leading all top-division NCAA teams with a 52.4% mark from the field. 6’8″ junior forward Rui Hachimura is averaging 19.9 points per game and is deadly from beyond the arc with a .435 3-point shot. Senior guard Josh Perkins leads the squad in minutes played and is also pushing 40% from downtown.
The Zags are 19-2 overall with an undefeated conference record, and have not lost since falling to Tennessee and UNC in back-to-back games back in December. Gonzaga’s closest shave in league play to date was a 13-point win over San Francisco on January 12th.
BYU can fight back with a power forward of its own, 6’8″ upperclassman Yoeli Childs. Childs scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Cougars’ victory over St. Mary’s last Thursday.
MyBookie has installed Gonzaga as a 14-point favorite on the spread in a contest with a healthy (167) Vegas point total.
Image from Twitter.