TV Schedule: Saturday, Feb. 27, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Arena: Mariott Center, Provo, UT
Line: BYU (-2.5)
The West Coast Conference comes down to the wire on Saturday night, as the WCC leading Gonzaga Bulldogs face the BYU Cougars. The Cougars are currently just one game behind first place in the conference, and they will be playing in what will be the last game of the regular season for both teams.
With a win, the Bulldogs guarantee at least a share of the WCC regular season title with the St. Mary’s Gaels. This team will be kicking themselves after they lost a home game to St. Mary’s two games ago, but will feel confident that they can go on the road and defeat BYU, as they have seven WCC road wins on the season.
The Cougars, on the other hand, know they have to win this game in order to even have a shot at a share of the WCC regular season title. If they win and St. Mary’s win, then they finish the season tied for second place. This team will be more than happy with finishing the season in second if it means defeating the Bulldogs, so expect a hard fought game in which the Cougars give it everything they have.
That being said, BYU excels at guard play, which is exactly where Gonzaga struggles. Likewise, Gonzaga excels down-low, which is exactly where BYU struggles. Both of these teams boast seemingly opposite skill sets, making for an interesting matchup. Remember, BYU defeated Gonzaga in Washington earlier in the season by just one point.
Although I expect Gonzaga to win the conference tournament, I believe BYU gets the better of the Bulldogs in Provo, and the Cougars earn a share of the WCC regular season title.
Prediction: BYU 72, Gonzaga 70