Saint Mary’s (16-6, 6-3), coming off a blowout loss at the hands of the Toreros return to the scene of one of the most memorable moments of the 2012-2013 season to face BYU (14-9, 6-4). Both teams are fighting for an at-large bid and both are facing long odds at getting in, especially the Gaels after looking unimpressive against San Diego. Both of these teams need to essentially win-out to stand a fighting chance of getting in with an at-large bid.
Who needs it more: Toss-Up. BYU can’t afford a home loss. Saint Mary’s could use a road win. A poor performance will leave the Gael nation with little optimism for the rest of the year.
Key Matchup: Mika vs. Waldow. Saint Mary’s shoots too many three pointers. If they can get Waldow going early AND keep going to him all the time, then they will get good looks from three. Even if Haws goes off, the Gaels can still win if they contain Mika and co. Bonus: Watching Giusti versus Carlino is always a treat.
X-Factor: Marriott Center. Saint Mary’s has never lost to BYU at the Mariott Center in WCC Play. In fact, Dave Rose hasn’t beat Randy Bennett since the Cougars joined the West Coast Conference. Will the Gaels’ success give them confidence in their ability to win in a tough road venue or will BYU be even more motivated to defeat the Gaels?
Prediction: The team that scores the most points will win. If BYU wins this game, they will have a glimmer of hope for an at-large bid. If the Gaels win this game, then they will add another marquee victory on their resume in hopes of cancelling out poor ones.
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