Gaels among West Coast Conference's elite
After rallying from an 18-point deficit to defeat Loyola Marymount over the weekend, the BYU Cougars feel pretty good about how they’ve started WCC play. But will David Rose’s troops rise to the challenge of upending No. 19 Saint Mary’s tonight?
The conference rivals tip off in Northern California at 11 p.m. ET. Online sports book Bovada.lv gives the Gaels odds of -750 to improve to 13-1 overall. BYU, on the other hand, enters McKeon Pavilion as a +500 underdog.
Rose’s top post presence, sophomore Eric Mika, hopes to rebound from an uncharacteristically shaky performance against the Lions. The 6-foot-10 forward shot only 23.5 percent from the field on Saturday. Still, the league’s second-leading scorer should make his customary double-double push in several hours.
Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett also prioritizes getting the ball inside. Jock Landale may not possess much range, but good luck bumping the junior center out of the lane. He racked up 20 points and 11 boards in a recent victory over South Carolina State. Redshirt freshman Tanner Krebs seems to be on the upswing from beyond the arc, too, having just nailed four treys vs. San Diego.
The Cougars’ (11-4) secondary offensive options could struggle mightily with the Gaels’ suffocating defense. Under Bennett’s tutelage, the hosts are holding opponents to 57.8 points per contest. That’s fourth-best in the nation, and certainly impressive enough to spearhead a triumph here.
THURSDAY NCAA FREE PICK: BYU/SAINT MARY’S UNDER 147.5 POINTS