After a good win at home against Utah State, the BYU Cougars will hit the road for an in-conference game against Saint Mary's on Thursday. The Gaels are the only WCC team that BYU has not beaten since joining the conference, and it will surely be a tough battle between the two teams.
Matthew Dellavedova and Saint Mary's already stunned the Cougs earlier this year in Provo and will surely be looking for another victory.
So, what will BYU have to do to pull off the win in Moraga? Here are five keys to beating the Gaels on the road.
I don't think that "cold" can describe BYU's shooting from deep on Tuesday. The Cougs were 4-of-21 against USU, which is 19 percent.
I'm pretty sure that JaVale McGee has shot a better percentage than that over his career.
There is no way that BYU will be able to shoot like that and scratch out a win against SMC, especially on the road.
Surprisingly enough, there was one place that BYU did score consistently against Utah State: the free throw line.
The Cougars made 84.8 percent of their shots from the charity stripe on Tuesday, despite shooting 33 (missing only five). There is no one on BYU's roster that is as bad as a free throw shooter as, say, Dwight Howard, and that could become a real weapon for them.
Anson Winder is BYU's best defender, and Matthew Dellavedova is Saint Mary's best player.
So why not pair the two?
I would understand not putting Winder on Dellavedova if there were some big height difference, but Anson Winder has five pounds on him and is about the same height.
Unless the Cougs run a zone all night, Winder on Dellavedova could be a great solution.
BYU and Saint Mary's are two teams that love to run. Both make a living in transition, and are ranked in the top 17 in the nation in scoring.
So if the Cougars are going to get an advantage anywhere, it needs to be in transition. If they can control the Gaels' pace, I could see a much closer game.
Sorry, but I've been waiting to say this for a long time.
If you don't know, the most dominant force in Saint Mary's frontcourt is 6'9" center Brad Waldow. He is second in the WCC in field goal percentage and is one of the best post players in the conference.
So, it is Brandon Davies' job to lock him down. If he can manage to make Waldow a non-factor, the game will flow a lot more smoothly for the Cougs.