BYU Basketball will host Saint Mary’s on Saturday, Feb. 1. Can the Cougars make their claim as the WCC’s second-best team?
BYU Basketball is in a tie for third place in the West Coast Conference. They will try to knock off the second-place Saint Mary’s Gaels. The tip-off will be Saturday at 8:00 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center and will be televised on ESPN 2.
BYU will be looking to atone for the 87-84 overtime loss at Saint Mary’s on Jan. 9. The Cougars played that game without their best player, 6’8 post Yoeli Childs, who had a badly dislocated finger. Bracketologist Joe Lunardi had Saint Mary’s as a ninth seed and BYU a 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament, prior to Thursday’s game.
The Cougars (16-7, 5-3) have been trying to climb away from the pack into second place of the WCC and have a #29 NET Ranking. Saint Mary’s (19-4, 6-2) is ranked #36 NET. If BYU wins the game, they creep into a tie for second place with the Gaels.
The Cougar fans at the Marriott Center have had this game circled on the calendar all season. BYU has yet to be challenged at home since they lost 76-71 to #4 San Diego State on Nov. 9, as the Cougars sport a 10-1 home record. BYU is coming off a 107-80 blowout over Pepperdine (11-11, 4-4, #138 NET) at home.
Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s has played some of their best basketball on the road. They Gaels are 4-1 in true road games with their lone loss being the four-overtime, 107-99 game at Pacific on Jan. 4. Saint Mary’s had no problem in their 86-64 win at home over Portland (9-14, 1-7, #258 NET) on Thursday.
Can BYU move into a tie for second place in the WCC? The following are keys for the Cougars going into this ballgame.