No. 3 BYU (10-6) vs. No. 6 San Diego (7-9)
Season series: 1-1
Game time: 8:30 p.m.
Here we go again. For the second straight year, San Diego and BYU will meet in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals. The only difference is the Toreros have seen success against the Cougars.
San Diego beat BYU at Jenny Craig Pavilion in their last meeting and wasn’t even at full strength. With Mike Davis back, it has an added toughness that could help out against, oh say, Tyler Haws. But BYu is likely looking for revenge.
The winner of this game will go up against the defending WCC Tournament champion Saint Mary’s on Saturday.
Probable starters: Johnny Dee, Ken Rancifer, Chris Anderson, Dennis Kramer, Chris Manresa
San Diego is playing out the same season from a year ago. They finished in sixth place, faced Pepperdine in the second round of the WCC Tournament, and will now face BYU.
BYU’s midseason switch to a four-guard set could benefit the Toreros, who have a backcourt with no one taller than 6-foot. This will also allow Ken Rancifer to guard Tyler Haws and make life a bit more difficult for him.
Johnny Dee had 19 points in their win against BYU but he will need help. Rancifer, Dennis Kramer, and Chris Manresa also came up with big performances in that win.
Manresa will have to tangle with Brandon Davies and the BYU forward has had difficulty staying out of foul trouble. But in the last matchup with San Diego, Davies played 34 minutes and had 20 points.
Probable starters: Matt Carlino, Tyler Haws, Brock Zylstra, Craig Cusick, Brandon Davies
BYU is still trying to find its way and has stumbled into the WCC Tournament.
The Cougars have lost four of their last seven games and those three wins came by a total of 19 points. To be fair, the four losses were by a combined 30 points. BYU has struggled closing games this inconsistency has cost them potential wins against Gonzaga, Saint Mary’s, and San Diego.
Haws has averaged 26 points against the Toreros in the first two games. So, he hasn’t been the problem.
Brock Zylstra and Matt Carlino combined to go 4-for-21 in San Diego and BYU was held to 41 percent shooting. San Diego shot 50 percent that same night.
Zylstra and Carlino will have to be effective.
Davies has to keep out of foul trouble. He has picked up four fouls in five of his last six games. If he unable to stay on the floor, it allows San Diego to focus more attention onto Haws.
Predicted winner: BYU