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Looking Ahead To BYU’s Potential Opponent In WCC Tournament

Mar 4, 2019, 5:45 PM
Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo...
Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo

PROVO, Utah – With the third seed locked up in the upcoming West Coast Conference tournament, the BYU Cougars must play the waiting game to see who their first opponent will be.

Due to the structure of the tournament, the Cougars have a bye all the way to the third round of the tournament. On March 9, they’ll face winner of Santa Clara vs. the winner of San Diego vs. Portland.

Having the 3 seed has been beneficial to the Cougars in the past. Most recently, BYU advanced all the way to the final game as the 3 seed in last year’s tournament. The Cougars defeated San Diego in the third round, then upset Saint Mary’s in the semifinals before losing in a blowout to Gonzaga.

Sizing Up The Potential Opponents

Unless any upsets precede the matchup on Saturday, the Cougars will likely face Santa Clara.

The Cougars met the Broncos just once this season and defeated them 80-74 at home. In that game, TJ Haws knocked down a clutch 3-pointer with two minutes to go to secure the win for BYU. Yoeli Childs also logged 27 points in the win.

If the Cougars face Santa Clara in the tournament, history says that BYU will have the edge. Over the last 18 matchups between the schools, BYU has won 17.

Still, the Bronco are capable of pulling off big wins as they did earlier this year then they beat USC 102-92 in double overtime.

Should the winner of the first round game between San Diego and Portland beat Santa Clara in the second round, the Cougars will again have another favorable matchup.

BYU defeated San Diego for the second time this season on Saturday in an 87-83 victory on senior night in Provo.

The Toreros did take the Cougars to overtime in their earlier matchup on Valentine’s Day, but BYU still came away with an 88-82 victory.

San Diego presents difference challenges from facing the Broncos, but it shouldn’t be anything too concerning for BYU.

If the Cougars end up facing Portland on Saturday, it would mean that the Pilots had assumed the role of Cinderella in the tournament. The Pilots were the only team in the conference to go winless in league play with a 0-16 record against WCC opponents.

BYU easily handled Portland in both meetings this year, winning 76-56 in the first matchup and 83-48 in the second.

Meeting the Pilots in the tournament and losing would be disastrous for the Cougars, but the chances of that playing out is extremely unlikely to happen.

Regardless of who they’ll play, the Cougars will have to face Saint Mary’s in the semifinals. The Gaels have a bye all the way until Monday.

Broadcast Info

The tournament begins on March 7. The Cougars will play on Saturday at 10 p.m. on ESPN2.

 

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Looking Ahead To BYU’s Potential Opponent In WCC Tournament