The Cougars of BYU are coming to Spokane to take on the nation’s No. 2 team and the newly minted Gonzaga all time assist leader, Josh Perkins on GU’s Senior Night. With the all-important No. 2 seed at stake for the upcoming WCC Tournament in Vegas and with San Fransisco playing as well as it has been, the Cougs cannot afford to drop any more games.
The Cougs are coming off a loss to San Fransisco. They blew a 14-point lead with 8 minutes to go in the second half, after leading the Dons for almost the entire game. While chasing after the aforementioned Vegas 2 seed, look for the Cougars’ charge to be led by Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws - they scored 28 and 25 points respectively against San Francisco.
The interesting twist within the WCC right now is this: BYU pulled off recent wins against San Diego and Loyola Marymount - both of which gave Gonzaga a definite run for their money (as painful and nail biting as it is to remember that). That being the case, there’s nothing stopping BYU from going full throttle while in Spokane.
Bearing in mind where the Cougars are mentally speaking at this point in the season, their play is going to be mostly characterized by desperation. This can go one of two ways. The first: BYU’s desperation drives them to play the best basketball they’ve played all season long, they win the rest of their regular season games, earn the 2 seed in Vegas and possibly earn a spot as a bubble team in March (fairly unlikely). The other scenario: the desperation and knowledge that this is one of their worst seasons ends up creating a lacksidasial playing style for the Cougars, the Zags end up annihilating them (yet again) this season and they will end up not having a bye in Vegas (more than likely).
All that being said, we need to remember that BYU likes to win in McCarthey and they’ve done so three times in the past *shudder* including routing the No. 1 Zags in 2017 and ruining the first unbeaten regular season in program history. Obviously, those were both very different teams then and now. Here’s to hoping that this BYU team fails to find inspiration from their previous teammates and that Gonzaga plays the way they are meant to play and makes all the right decisions on the floor against a team that has a legitimate ability to create a horrible upset.