WCC Tournament Semifinal Preview: #2 BYU vs. #6 Portland


2015 WCC Tournament Semifinals: BYU Cougars (24-8, 13-5) vs. Portland Pilots (17-14, 7-11)

Date: Monday, March 9, 2015

Location: The Orleans Arena, Paradise, NV

Time: 8:00 PM PT (or 30 minutes after Gonzaga vs. Pepperdine)

TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Stan Heath)

Livestream: WatchESPN.com

Live Stats: Link from WCC website



Kyle Collinsworth, 13.6 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 5.7 APG

Chase Fischer, 12.7 PPG

Tyler Haws, 22.2 PPG, 4.6 RPG

Josh Sharp, 1.5 PPG

Corbin Kaufusi, 3.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG


Alec Wintering, 12.6 PPG, 5.8 APG

Bryce Pressley, 7.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 2.9 APG

Kevin Bailey, 15.1 PPG

Jason Todd, 5.0 PPG or Voldymyr Gerun 8.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG

Thomas van der Mars, 10.3 PPG, 8.0 RPG

BYU Needs a Win Over Portland for NCAA Hopes

After barely escaping Santa Clara in the quarterfinals, BYU’s RPI dropped two spots.  While they probably wanted to see Saint Mary’s in the semifinals (to get a better win for their resumé), they have to remain focused against Portland.  Van der Mars and a healthy Gerun could give BYU’s big men trouble, so Corbin Kaufusi and Ryan Andrus will need to stay out of trouble and remain active on the boards.  Haws and Collinsworth have been fairly consistent scorers of late as has Skyler Halford, but it would be nice if Frank Bartley could convert more of his shots on those aggressive drives to the basket.  With Winder limited, Bartley needs to be the aggressor while staying under control.  BYU did a poor job of closing out on Jared Brownridge on Saturday, so they’ll need to make sure they locate Bryce Pressley and Jason Todd at all times, as both shoot well over 40% from distance.   There is no one that needs to remind BYU how important this game is.  Winning will allow them to likely play Gonzaga, and even a loss to the Zags would still help BYU’s RPI.

A Lock for the CIT, Portland Looks to Bolster CBI Resumé

More from 2015 WCC Tournament

After the big win on Saturday against Saint Mary’s, the Pilots moved up to 140 in the RPI, making them a virtual lock for the CIT.  A win over BYU would likely put them into the slightly more prestigious CBI.  Obviously the Pilots are two games away from an NCAA tournament automatic berth, but realistically it will be very though for them to beat the Cougars and the Zags on back-to-back nights.  Kevin Bailey needs to continue his hot streak offensively, and it will be important for van der Mars to stay out of foul trouble, as he is their enforcer defensively and has the capability to alter a lot of Kyle Collinsworth’s shots at the rim.  If necessary, Phillip Hartwich needs to be ready to come in to provide solid minutes if Gerun is still sick or van der Mars is in foul trouble.  For Portland, it really comes down to if they can shoot lights out like Santa Clara did against BYU.  If the Pilots can do so, they have a chance.  If not, BYU probably has too much offensive firepower for Portland to keep up.

Current Line: BYU is favored to beat Portland by 8 points.