WCC Tournament Team Preview: BYU


#2 BYU Cougars

Record: 23-8, 13-5

Postseason Prediction: NCAA Tournament

WCC Tournament – Quarterfinals:

  • Saturday, March 7, 2015
  • Time: 8:00 PM Pacific
  • Opponent: #7 Santa Clara (13-17, 7-11) OR #10 Loyola Marymount (8-22, 4-14)

Stats Leaders:

  • Points: Tyler Haws (21.7 PPG)
  • Rebounds: Kyle Collinsworth (8.6 RPG)
  • Assists: Kyle Collinsworth (5.8 APG)


BYU is currently the hottest team in the WCC, having won 6 league games in a row to end the season.  That includes a dominant home win over Saint Mary’s and an even more impressive win against Gonzaga at the Kennel this past Saturday.  The Cougars have benefited greatly from Josh Sharp’s insertion into the starting lineup and Skyler Halford’s hot shooting off the bench.  It really says a lot that this BYU team was able to win at Gonzaga when Tyler Haws went 3/12 from the field and missed half of his 8 free throws.  Corbin Kaufusi and Ryan Andrus have emerged as the Cougars’ two best big men, doing enough to complement the terrific rebounding skills of Kyle Collinsworth.

How the Cougars Can Win it All

While the Cougars should not get too big of a challenge from LMU or Santa Clara, their bigs will need to come to play against Brad Waldow if the Cougars play Saint Mary’s in the semifinals.  While it would be nice for Tyler Hawks to get back on track, what we’ve learned about BYU this season is that the offense works better off of defensive stops and getting out in transition.  If the Cougars can get past Saint Mary’s, they will need an even better effort against a Gonzaga team in the final.  There is no doubt that the game on Saturday was a wake-up call for the Zags, who will be looking to head into the NCAA Tournament with some momentum.  Once again it will be essential for the big men to do well against Wiltjer, Karnowski, and Sabonis, and for Kyle Collinsworth to carry the rebounding load.  If Pangos and Bell are cold, BYU should have a much better shot to win this game because they can focus more of the effort on defending the interior.

Predicted Finish

Runner-Up. Gonzaga will not shoot as poorly this time around, and they Cougars will not have enough inside to keep up with the Zags. The Cougars will then have to sweat it out and see if their late push was enough to get them off the bubble and into the NCAA Tournament. Right now they are among the last four teams in the field on many brackets but since they won’t be getting the WCC’s automatic bid, nothing is assured until Selection Sunday.