Coming into this season, BYU looked to go one step further in the NCAA Tournament by winning a tournament game. Right now, they are at risk of missing the tournament.
BYU (16-7, 6-4 WCC) looks to keep their slim postseason hopes alive with a win at home against Santa Clara on Saturday. Up to this point, the Cougars have had a rough ride in conference play. With unexpected losses to Pepperdine at home and San Diego on the road, the Cougars find themselves in third place with a 6-4 conference record.
In order to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive, BYU will most likely need to run the table. They might be able to suffer a road loss at Gonzaga, but BYU will look to start a winning streak after surviving a tough contest against San Francisco on Thursday.
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Tyler Haws and Chris Collinsworth will be key for the Cougars. Haws is currently second in the NCAA in scoring, averaging 22.7 points per game. He will need to score in double figures if the Cougars want to have a good shot at winning.
Collinsworth leads the team in assists and rebounds, and has tied an NCAA record with four triple-doubles this season. Look for him to be active all over the floor by creating plays, distributing the ball, and working the glass.
Santa Clara (11-11, 5-5 WCC) comes to Provo after a close loss at San Diego on Thursday. The loss gives the Broncos a 1-4 road conference record. In those five road games, Santa Clara averaged just 59.8 points per game, while BYU leads the nation in scoring offense with 85.6 points per game. Their task couldn’t be taller.
With so much on the line, I expect BYU to handle Santa Clara at home knowing that their postseason hopes are on the line. The Cougars have too many scoring weapons and too much motivation to let one slip against Santa Clara at home.
The game tips off at 6:00PM PST (7:00PM MST) Saturday and can be seen on BYUtv.