The BYU Cougars were just one week removed from a huge upset win in Spokane when they snapped Gonzaga’s 41 game home winning streak. But Gonzaga had a rematch with the Cougars, this time for the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship. BYU started out the game even with the Zags and looking like they wanted to win their first Conference tournament title since 2001. But their leading scorer Tyler Haws had to ride the pine with about 10 minutes to go in the first half with 2 fouls. That was when Gonzaga started to pull away. Kyle Wiltjer the Kentucky transfer led the charge with the WCC player of the year Kevin Pangos. BYU was able to stay within striking distance but couldn’t get over the hump in the second half. As Gonzaga turned their game up to another level and BYU failed to hit shots, as well as Dave Rose receiving a technical foul midway through the 2nd half, BYU couldn’t overcome the Bulldogs and fell in the West Coast Conference Championship game for the second straight season, 91-75. Gonzaga had 6 players in double figures (Wiltjer 18, Pangos 16, Bell Jr. 15, Sabonis 15, Karnowski 12, Dranginis 10), while BYU had only 3 players (Collinsworth 28, Haws 15 and Halford 13). One day removed from his sixth triple double of the season and tying Shaquille O’Neal and Michael Anderson for the NCAA record for triple doubles in a career, Kyle Collinsworth had a career high 28 points and pulled down 8 rebounds and was really the only player keeping BYU in the game.
BYU finishes the season 23-9 overall and 13-5 in West Coast Conference play with one quality win over Gonzaga on February 28th in Spokane. Their losses against teams with a 1-50 RPI is San Diego State on November 24th, Utah on December 10th and Gonzaga twice (December 27th in Provo and in the Tournament Championship game). Their wins against teams with an RPI of 51-100 is Stanford on December 20th, UMass on December 23rd and St. Mary’s on February 12th. Their losses against teams with an RPI of 51-100 is Purdue on November 26th and at St. Mary’s on January 17th. The Cougars have 3 bad losses on their resume, Pepperdine twice and San Diego.
In Joe Lunardi’s (ESPN) Bracketology, he has BYU as a 12 seed playing in the first round (play in game) against Indiana with the winner taking on Louisville in a 4 seed.
In Jerry Palm’s (CBS Sports) Bracketology, he doesn’t have BYU making the NCAA tournament
We will have to see if they have their name called on Selection Sunday. Personally, I think they will make the tournament.
Gonzaga finishes the season with a 31-2 overall record and 17-1 in West Coast Conference play with 6 wins against teams with a RPI of 1-50 against SMU, Georgia, St. John’s, UCLA and BYU twice and their two losses against Arizona and BYU. Wins against teams with a RPI of 51-100 include St. Mary’s twice and Memphis.
In Joe Lunardi’s (ESPN) Bracketology, he has Gonzaga as a 2 seed in the South region playing against North Dakota State.
In Jerry Palm’s (CBS Sports) Bracketology, he has the Zags as a 2 seed in the South region as well but playing New Mexico State.
I have Gonzaga going to the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament. I don’t think they are good enough to be a final four team unless they can get consistent play from their starters.
The Madness is almost here!!!
Stay tuned to ESPN 700 and espn700sports.com for the latest tournament coverage with all the teams in the state.
Featured Image by: Bradjward