12-4 BYU Basketball is 1-0 in conference play, but will have their hands full with the Gaels of St. Mary’s on Thursday night.
BYU Basketball took care of business in their West Coast Conference opener, pounding the Lions of Loyola Marymount into the ground with a commanding 63-38 victory.
That may seem like an obvious win, but this year the WCC seems to have made a push to not get beat down by the big three (Gonzaga, St. Mary’s and BYU) quite as often this year. The Zags barely escaped their first two conference games, against Portland and Pepperdine, and the Gaels fell in quadruple overtime to the Pacific Tigers on Saturday.
As such, BYU taking care of business is something to be celebrated by Cougars fans. Now, they get rewarded with a nationally televised date against a pissed-off Gaels team that will be out for blood on Thursday night at McKeon in Moraga, California.
However, for BYU this is a very winnable game. St. Mary’s has exposed some weaknesses on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball, and their depth is being tested after the loss of big man Matthias Tass.
Here are three keys to victory for the Cougars. If they are able to successfully defend the perimeter, control the pace, and feed Yoeli Childs, they have a great chance of not only handing the Gaels their second conference loss but of moving themselves into the bottom portion of the AP Poll’s top 25 ranking.