The BYU Cougars (13-6, 3-1 WCC) welcome the #8 Gonzaga Bulldogs (14-3, 3-0 WCC) for a West Coast Conference clash between two of the top teams in the conference. Gonzaga has owned the all-time series, winning 23 of the 30 meetings between the two programs.
Thursday’s tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. EST inside the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. Gonzaga is a 6.5-point favorite and the over/under total is 149 points.
What to Know – #8 Gonzaga Bulldogs
Gonzaga looks to run its current winning streak to ten games and stay undefeated in conference play with a victory. The Bulldogs only losses this season have been to teams ranked in the top 25.
Offensively, the Bulldogs are fifth in the nation scoring 85.9 points per game while shooting 51.8% from the field and 38.0% from the 3-point line. Gonzaga’s defense surrenders 72.9 points per game, 276th in the country, holding opponents to 44% shooting from the floor and 32.4% from beyond the arc.
Forward Drew Timme does it all for the Bulldogs, leading the team in scoring averaging 21.8 points and rebounding, grabbing 7.9 boards per game. Guards Julian Strawther (13.9 ppg) and Rasir Bolton (11.3 ppg) add additional scoring options to the Gonzaga offense.
The Bulldogs have struggled against the spread this year with a 5-11 mark and 0-3 record ATS in road battle.
Gonzaga is 1-5-1 ATS in its previous seven games following an ATS defeat.
What to Know – BYU Cougars
The Cougars are putting together another quality season in Provo and have become one of the few teams in the conference that can give the Bulldogs a challenge. BYU has won eight of its last nine after beginning the season 5-5.
BYU’s offense ranks 134th in college basketball averaging 74.5 points per game and hitting 44.1% of its shots from the floor and 32.7% from deep. The Cougars defense ranks 117th in the country, limiting teams to 66.7 ppg, 41.2% shooting from the field, and 33.3% from three.
Forward Fousseyni Traore leads a Cougars offense that sports four players averaging in double figures. Traore paces the BYU attack averaging 12.8 ppg. Guard Rudi Williams is next in line, adding 12.3 ppg while forward Gideon George (11.9 ppg) and Spencer Johnson (10.6 ppg) both figure into the scoring output on a game-to-game basis for BYU.
BYU is 8-8-1 ATS this season and 3-4-1 ATS on its home court. The Cougars are 2-8 ATS over their last ten games played on a Thursday.
The Pick is In
Gonzaga has the easiest conference schedule of teams ranked inside the top 10, but BYU is a formidable test for the Bulldogs. Both teams have played over the last two weeks, so Thursday’s matchup should be a solid contest of two top teams in the WCC.
It never hurts having one of the best players in the collegiate game on your roster like Gonzaga does with Timme, but the Cougars rhythm offensively will score buckets against a shaky Bulldogs’ defense. BYU keeps this one close at home.
The Pick: BYU Cougars +6.5