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Preview: BYU vs Gonzaga in WCC Semifinals

West Coast Conference Tournament action will continue in Las Vegas on Monday when the No. 3 seeded Brigham Young Cougars take on the No. 2 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs in a semifinal matchup. The current line has Gonzaga favored by 3 points.

During the regular season, BYU had an overall record of 23-9 straight up and 16-12 against the spread. Gonzaga on the season had an overall record of 24-7 SU and 13-15 ATS. Over its past 10 games played, BYU is 8-2 SU and 5-5 ATS, while Gonzaga is 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS.

Both teams defeated their quarterfinal opponents quite easily. During the regular season, the Cougars and Bulldogs split their head-to-head series, with each team winning on its opponent’s home court. Both games went down to the wire and were decided by a total of four points.

However, when it comes to conference tournament play Gonzaga is 3-0 against BYU. The Cougars have yet to win a WCC tournament and if they want to reach the NCAA Tournament, winning the tournament is a must.

Both teams are high scoring with BYU averaging 83.5 points a game and Gonzaga 79.3 points a game. BYU plays an up-tempo offense with numerous 3-point shots. Chase Fischer a senior leads BYU in scoring at 18 points a game.

Gonzaga could prevent BYU from scoring from the outside due to its shooting percentage defense. The Bulldogs are third in the country in three-point shooting percentage defense at 29.2%.

The offense at Gonzaga is led by its big men, with Kyle Wiltjer leading the team in scoring at 20.5 points per game and Domantas Sabonis not far behind at 17.5 points a game.

The Bulldogs lost Przemek Karnowski in December for the season due to injury, which has hurt the team. Ryan Edwards has stepped up since Karnowski’s injury but he was injured on Saturday and his playing status is unknown.

Both teams play very well on offense. Gonzaga however holds a big edge when it comes to the defense. At the same time, BYU has much more depth due to injuries suffered by Gonzaga and that will be even more significant if Edwards does not play for Gonzaga.

Prediction: The teams split the regular season series but this time around BYU could be stronger overall because of few injuries. The Gonzaga attack up front is somewhat depleted and that could hurt the club in this games. BYU is up tempo and the lacks of players off the bench for Gonzaga could prove too much physically for the Bulldogs. Lean toward BYU.

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