Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#819 BYU 155 vs.
#820 Gonzaga -12
Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 10:00pm EST
Written by Nick Raffoul



#819 Brigham Young University
#820 Gonzaga University


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The BYU Cougars will head to the McCarthey Athletic Center on Saturday night as they get set for a West Coast Conference tilt against the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

The Cougars’ lone WCC loss came on the road in overtime against Saint Mary’s earlier this season. They come into Saturday’s matchup riding a two-game winning streak but will have their hands full against a Bulldogs team that has lost just one game all season. Can Gonzaga stay hot at home against a hungry Cougars squad on Saturday night?

Cougars win second straight conference game

BYU won for the eighth time in nine games on Thursday night, taking down San Diego 93-70 on Thursday night. Kolby Lee led six Cougars’ players in double-figures on the night with 21 points while TJ Haws chipped in 19 points in the win for BYU, which shot 11-for-22 from 3-point range in the win.

Mark Pope’s squad enters the weekend ranked No. 27 in the latest KenPom rankings following their 3-1 start to the WCC season. The Cougars have scored 112.2 points per 100 possessions for the season (14th in the NCAA) while sporting the second-best effective field goal percentage in the nation at 56.9 percent. BYU has shot 42.3 percent of their total shots from long-range (67th in the NCAA) and they’ve connected at a rate of 40.5 percent from deep (5th in the NCAA) on the year. They’ve also done a good job of taking care of the basketball, turning the ball over just 16.1 percent of the time on offense (20th in the NCAA).

On defense, the Cougars have given up 94.6 points per 100 possessions (73rd in the NCAA) and they’ve limited opponents to just 28.3 percent from 3-point range (17th in the NCAA).

Gonzaga remain undefeated in WCC action

Gonzaga riled off its 11th straight win on Thursday with a 104-54 win to improve to 5-0 in conference play. Admon Gilder scored 18 points off of the bench while Filip Pertrusev chipped in 18 points for the Zags, who limited Santa Clara to just 3-for-25 from 3-point range on the night. Joel Ajayi finished with a team-high 19 points.

Mark Few has guided the Zags to an impressive 19-1 overall record, including a strong 5-0 start in WCC play, and they enter the weekend slotted at No. 6 in the latest KenPom rankings. Gonzaga sports the most potent offensive attack in the nation, scoring 116.4 points per 100 possessions (1st in the NCAA) while turning the ball over just 14.9 percent of the time (6th in the NCAA). The Bulldogs have shot a red-hot 56.3 percent from inside the arc (6th in the NCAA) and a red-hot 38.5 percent from beyond the arc (13th in the NCAA) but only 67.2 percent from the free-throw line as a team (262nd in the NCAA).

On defense, Gonzaga has allowed 92.3 points per 100 possessions (44th in the NCAA) but that number has fallen to just 83.3 points per 100 possessions against WCC opponents. Through five conference games, Gonzaga has limited opponents to just 28.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc (1st in the WCC) while holding them to an offensive rebounding rate of 22.3 percent (1st in the WCC).

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The Zags have the size inside to bully most teams in the painted arena but they also have the shooters to keep up with the Cougars from beyond the arc. BYU has faced a relatively easy conference schedule to start the season with all three of their wins coming against teams ranked outside the top-200. Meanwhile, Gonzaga has proven its worth by going 4-1 in Tier-A and Tier-B games this season and they will have another opportunity for a quality win at home here. Take Gonzaga to cover the spread at home in this WCC battle on Saturday night.

Prediction: Gonzaga Bulldogs -12

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This should, for all intents and purposes, turn into a high-scoring game. The Bulldogs rank 35th in the country in adjusted tempo and 13th in average possession length on offense. Gonzaga ranks as the top offensive team in the country and the WCC while BYU ranks 14th in the country on offense and 2nd in the WCC. The Cougars also shoot a healthy percent of their shots from deep and the Zags have actually been vulnerable from long-range on the season. Look for this game to go over the projected total on Saturday night.

Prediction: Over 154.5

Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.