by Robby McCombs
BYU-Gonzaga tips off at 8:30 PST in what many see as a must-win for both teams tourney hopes. One thing to watch for is the health of backup Gonzaga center Ryan Edwards. The 7’-1” center hurt his knee in the first half and didn’t return. Gonzaga is already thin as it is; they typically only bring three guys off the bench, and Edwards is the only big they rotate in. Here are some key numbers to look at going into Monday night’s matchup.
Vegas Line: Gonzaga -3
KenPom win percentage: Gonzaga 63%
4- Combined margin of the two games this year. BYU won in Spokane by one point, and Gonzaga won in Provo by three.
23- Nick Emery’s combined shooting percentage in both games versus Gonzaga. A 43% shooter on the season, Emery has really struggled against the Bulldogs. Although he hit timely shots in both games, BYU needs Emery to come up big, or at least average, if BYU wants to knock off the zags.
32– The 32 three-point attempts BYU took in the game in Provo was the largest number of threes BYU took in a game this season. BYU did hit 10 of them, but the lack of post production prevented BYU from getting the win.
12- Number of games in a row Gonzaga has held opponents below 70 points. BYU is 2-3 this season when held below 70 points – one of those wins was against Gonzaga, as was one of the losses.
6-1. BYU’s record when Kyle Collinsworth scores 20 or more points. The one loss was an overtime loss in Hawaii to Harvard. Collinsworth’s absence in the first half put BYU in big hole that the Cougars couldn’t dig themselves out of. Expect Collinsworth to be aggressive and looking to score more in an effort to get Domantas Sabonis in foul trouble.
5-0. BYU’s record in conference plays when Corbin Kaufusi has at least two blocks. Kaufusi is BYU’s biggest x-factor when it comes to defensive performance. When he plays smart and aggressive, BYU’s defensive is at a different level. He struggled one-on-one versus Sabonis last game, but he’s had his moments in the past when he has done well against Gonzaga’s front line.