BYU Basketball: How Cougars Stack Up Against Gonzaga, Position-by-Position
Gonzaga and BYU have been predicted to finish at the top of the WCC, respectively, with the Bulldogs in first place and the Cougars following right behind.
Although the two teams do not meet for nearly two months (January 24 in Spokane), it is never to early to compare the two squads.
At each position, I will take a look at which matchup to watch, along with who has performed better thus far this season, and which player has the edge over the other.
Without further ado, here are position-by-position comparisons for BYU and Gonzaga.
PG: Matt Carlino vs. Kevin Pangos
BYU's Matt Carlino has underperformed so far this season, and that may not even be the entire truth.
His average of 5.3 points this year is nearly seven points less than last season, and although he has averaged one more assist per game, Carlino has not yet made any fans "ooh" or "aah."
On the other hand, Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos is averaging 12.2 points per game, and although that is about one less point than last season, it's a good number when coupled with 3.8 assists and 40 percent shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
He is also a decent defender, and averages over one steal per game.
Pangos has played much better this year than Carlino, and with plenty of shooting range coupled with a knack for getting teammates the ball, Pangos wins this matchup.
SG: Tyler Haws vs. Gary Bell Jr.
A few months after returning from an LDS church mission, Tyler Haws has had nothing short of a profound impact on the Cougars' basketball program.
Haws is averaging 23.3 points per game, while snagging over six rebounds and three assists per contest. At 6'5", he has nearly four inches on Bell.
Gonzaga's Gary Bell Jr. has not played nearly as well as Haws, chalking only nine points and slightly over two rebounds per game.
Despite playing over 27 minutes on average, Bell keeps his fouls in check with only about two per contest.
In the end, Tyler Haws is the much more dominant player. A threat from all over the court, he earns the obvious nod over Bell.
SF: Brock Zylstra vs. Guy Landry Edi
Brock Zylstra has grown over the offseason from his role of sixth man to a full-blown starter. And he has taken that very seriously.
Amid the rise of Tyler Haws, Zylstra has continued to find ways to score and spread the wealth with teammates, averaging nearly 10 points and three assists per game.
A dominant player on both the wings and in the post, he can make treys consistently while snagging boards.
Guy Landry Edi has also been a surprise player of sorts, as he has grown into a key part of the Gonzaga game plan.
Contributing about eight points and five rebounds per game, Edi isn't the star, but a definite impact athlete.
At 6'6", he has no height advantage on Zylstra, but averaging only half an assist per game, he obviously isn't a pass-first player.
Zylstra has turned out to be the more well-rounded player, as he can be a threat from beyond the arc and a force down low.
PF: Josh Sharp vs. Elias Harris
Josh Sharp is perhaps the most improved player for BYU, as he has gone from seven minutes per game in 2011-12 to over 25 minutes per game this season.
Although he is not a great scorer (he averages six points per game), Sharp can be a great rebounder in the post.
On the other side, Elias Harris leads Gonzaga as one of the most dominant players in college hoops.
He leads the Bulldogs in both scoring and rebounding (15.7 and 9.2 per game, respectively). Although he averages only 1.7 assists, I wouldn't pass much if I were that explosive, either.
Obviously, Harris seems to be the better player in this scenario, and could make an early run for the conference POY.
C: Brandon Davies vs. Sam Dower
A preseason Wooden Award candidate, Brandon Davies is one of the best post players in the West.
Although his statistics have dwindled lately because of foul trouble, Davies still averages 18.2 points and 7.3 boards per game. He is great working down low, but also has a good mid-range shot.
Although Sam Dower is hidden behind two of the best players in the conference, the Gonzaga center still quietly contributes.
With eight points and five boards per game, his stats are nothing flashy, but still are effective.
All in all, Brandon Davies is definitely the better big man. With 1.8 blocks per game, he not only makes his presence felt on offense, but on defense, too.
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