Bulldogs (17-3) vs Cougars (18-6)
The Gonzaga Bulldogs are well positioned for another post-season run.
Thursday February 2
Marriott Center – Provo, UT
Moneyline: No money line currently listed
Spread: BYU -2.5
(Bet Now At Bovada.lv (Bodog If Your In Canada))
They may not have knocked off any heavyweights in the non-conference schedule but they generally win when they are supposed to and their lone black mark was a loss at St. Mary’s that wasn’t as close as people thought it should be.
The game with BYU is interesting because it the first time these will tangle as conference mates and because the Cougars eliminated the Zags from the tournament last March – in relatively easy fashion.
These teams are pretty similar in terms of their resume to date.
Harris and Sacre are playing below expectations in my opinion but perhaps facing an opponent that they actually look in the eye will spur them to contribute more.
Sometimes this team is more unselfish than they need to be. Playing at BYU is going to require a team effort but that doesn’t mean that individuals can’t also shine.
Life after Jimmer hasn’t been too bad. The BYU Cougars may not be grabbing too many national headlines these days but this is still a very good, and likely underrated, team. The assumption was that they might as well close the Marriott Center after Jimmer and his backcourt mate Jackson Emery left.
Instead what has developed is a nicely balanced team with a chance to sneak up on people who think Utah is a basketball wasteland.
This year the Cougars have 4 players averaging more than 11 points per game in Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies, Matt Carlino and Charles Abouo.
With Hartsock, Davies and Abouo all playing up front they make up one of the better front lines nobody is talking about. Even without Jimmer this is still a good shooting team (39th) although not as lethal from deep (just 35%).
Carlino does have really good range but also more of a conscience than his predecessor at the point.
BYU lost earlier in the week to St. Mary’s and will be looking to prove something against the other WCC heavy Gonzaga.
Spread Pick: Gonzaga +2.5
O/U Pick: Over
Score Prediction: Gonzaga 81 – BYU 79