BYU Basketball will travel to Spokane to play the Gonzaga on Saturday, Jan. 18. Do the Cougars have a chance to pull the upset?
BYU Basketball is once again one of the top teams in the West Coast Conference, coming off a 93-70 home win over San Diego. They will go into Spokane trying to knock off #1 Gonzaga. The Tip-off will be Saturday at 7:00 p.m. PT in the McCarthey Athletic Center and will be televised on ESPN2.
The Cougars (14-5, 3-1) have been knocking on the door of the AP Top 25 most of the season and have a #31 NET Ranking. Gonzaga (19-1, 5-0) is ranked #5 NET. If BYU wins the game, they will be within a half-game of the Zags at the top of the improving West Coast Conference standings.
This match-up has been much anticipated all season. Unfortunately, BYU will be without 6’8 power forward Yoeli Childs due to an open dislocation of his shooting hand index finger.
Last week without Childs, BYU lost at Saint Mary’s (#44 NET) 87-84 in overtime. The Cougars came back home for an easy 96-70 at home two days later over Portland (#229 NET) after jumping out to a 24-2 lead. Thursday, BYU defeated San Diego (#236 NET) 93-70 led by Kolby Lee’s career-high of 21 points.
Meanwhile, Gonzaga rolled through the competition last week on the road with a 94-50 win at San Diego and an 87-62 win at Loyola Marymount (#243 NET). The Zags then smashed Santa Clara (#80 NET) at home Thursday, 104-54. A victory over BYU would set a WCC record by winning 33 straight games set by Pepperdine in the ’90s.
Even without Childs, BYU has the confidence that they compete at Gonzaga. The Cougars came away with victories in Spokane in recent back-to-back years (2016 and 2017). The following are keys going into this ballgame.