Prior to becoming an award-winning radio host and hooking up with NBC to host a variety of sports programming, Dan Patrick was the lead anchor on ESPN's SportsCenter. Along with the late Stuart Scott, Rich Eisen, and so many others, Patrick coined several phrases which have become cliche in today's culture. One of those was "you can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him". When thinking about BYU's Kyle Collinsworth, that is the phrase that continues to pop up in my mind.
The junior 'tweener' is listed as a guard but at 6'6'' with an endless motor, he plays more like a crazed wrecking ball than your typical perimeter player. While Tyler Haws grabs a lot of the headlines for his scoring outputs, there is no doubt that Collinsworth is the life blood of the BYU program. He's not your average 'glue guy' because that typically implies that he's a below average skilled player that does it all for his team. Collinsworth is a very skilled player that does it all for his team - literally he does it all. This season, he has had six TRIPLE-doubles, which ties him for the NCAA career mark - note that he has done as much in one season as others have in a career.
In Gonzaga's most recent matchup with BYU, Collinsworth absolutely dominated the Zags. He had 20 points on 8-17 shooting from the field and had 8 boards. What absolutely killed the Zags is that six of those rebounds were offensive - coming on five possessions (he had two offensive rebounds in one Cougar possession). All five of those resulted in points for BYU which was a huge difference maker in the Zags loss. In total, BYU finished with 15 offensive rebounds to the Bulldogs' 11.
If Gonzaga is going to collect another WCC Tournament crown and burst the Cougars bubble, they absolutely have to limit BYU's second chance points and that means somehow trying to keep Collinsworth off the offensive glass. I would love to say that Mark Few can just pound the paint on offense and force BYU to play his style of basketball but the Cougars will employ the four guard lineup early and often meaning that Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski will become very vulnerable to early fouls if they are asked to guard a guy like Collinsworth.
With that, look for Kyle Dranginis to continue to get a lot of minutes against BYU tonight. He's played a season-high 24 minutes in each of the past two matchups and I have no reason to think that will change tonight. It is definitely an over-simplistic thought but Gonzaga simply has to be far more efficient offensively than they were the last time out. They beat BYU the first time not because they stopped BYU but because they outscored them, 87-80. The Cougars are literally playing for their NCAA Tournament lives tonight so matching their intensity and not getting off to a woefully slow start will be paramount. If Mark Few's club can continue their momentum from the 2nd half against Pepperdine, the odds of the Zags cutting down the Orleans Arena nets are very, very good.