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Another Resume Builder Awaits BYU On The Hilltop At USF

Jan 24, 2020, 3:28 PM
Deseret News...
Deseret News

SAN FRANCISCO, Califonia – When BYU is at full strength, they are a force that very few in college basketball want to mess with. After Thursday night’s 74-60 win at Pacific, BYU is riding a wave of momentum that the possibilities are endless for what Mark Pope calls a “special team.”

With Yoeli Childs back from a dislocated finger injury he suffered two weeks ago, BYU comes into their next game against San Francisco playing confident and ready to keep swinging at every challenge that comes their way.

BYU sits at 15-6 overall on the season and 4-2 in West Coast Conference play. Every game at this point in the season is huge for the Cougars who are pursuing their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2015.

After the win over Pacific, BYU jumped from 28 to 21 in the Ken Pomeroy rankings and now is No. 28 in the NCAA’s NET ranking system used by the selection committee. The Bracket Matrix which compiles data from 96 different Bracketology projections has BYU listed as a No. 10 seed if the Big Dance started today.

But to keep the momentum going, they’ll have to get through a San Francisco team that is currently No. 100 in the NET rankings, which is good for a Quadrant Two game for BYU’s tournament resume if they can get the win.

The Dons are currently on a two-game winning streak over BYU with both victories coming last season, including a 14-point comeback led by guard Frankie Ferrari in the Marriott Center. Ferrari and fellow senior Nate Renfrow are gone from that USF squad who won 21 games a season ago, along with head coach Kyle Smith who left for Washington State.

USF is now led by 34-year-old Todd Golden who is in his first year as a D1 head coach. The Dons are 14-7 and 3-3 in league play after having a 10-point setback against Golden’s alma mater, Saint Mary’s on Thursday night.

Matchups to Watch

BYU big man Kolby Lee has taken some time getting used to playing alongside Yoeli Childs. In the eight games Childs has played in this season, Lee is averaging less than three points and two rebounds per game. Without Childs, “Big Idaho” a.k.a. “The Quickie Monster” has given what Mark Pope believes are Nikola Jokic-type performances.

Lee will have his hands full on the Hilltop against USF as the Dons have a true seven-footer in senior Jimbo Lull. If Lee can provide a physical presence on the glass pulling down rebounds, that will be huge if BYU comes away with their first win against USF in two years.

Iron Man Haws

Barring any shocking setback between now and tip-off, senior TJ Haws will set the record for most consecutive starts in a BYU basketball career with 123. Haws would pass BYU great Jeff Chatman who set the record back in 1988.

Among current college basketball players, Haws ranks third in the country for most consecutive starts behind Oregon’s Payton Pritchard (129) and Penn State’s Lamar Stevens (123).

BYU at San Francisco

Tip-Off: 3 p.m. (MST)

TV: Stadium

Online: WatchStadium.com

Radio: KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM, 1160 AM

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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