It has been almost 16 months since the college sports world learned that BYU was taking its non-football sports (most of them) to the West Coast Conference, and tonight, the wait is finally over. With the other eight schools anxious to take on BYU, the Cougars (11-3) finally open play in the West Coast Conference tonight at Saint Mary's (11-2) at 9:00 pm MT on ESPN2.
Here's a quick Know The Foe overview of Saint Mary's and a look at the Gaels' season and players so far.
KNOW THE FOE - Saint Mary's College
Location: Moraga, California
Venue: McKeon Pavilion, cap. 3,500
Tourney Appearances: 6, most recently a sweet-16 appearance in 2010.
Coach: Randy Bennett, 11th season (219-114, .658)
Last 5 Years: 117-31 (.791)
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St. Mary's wrapped up its pre-conference campaign with an 11-2 record. For the most part, the Gaels have racked up wins against a rather dull set of opponents, playing only one school from a power conference. SMC's two losses came on the road at Denver, who looks likely to win the Sun Belt this season, and a neutral-site game in Vegas against Baylor.
BYU and SMC share two common opponents. Both teams played Weber State at home, with the Gaels posting an 87-70 victory. St. Mary's fell to Baylor as mentioned by the score of 72-59 on a neutral court (while BYU lost 86-83 on its home floor to the Bears).
The Gaels are led by two main cogs, Matthew Dellavedova and Rob Jones. Dellavedova, the junior point guard from Australia, is a fantastic college guard. He's heady, can shoot, and even create off the drive. He's second on the team in scoring at 13.9 points per game and dishes out 6.3 assists per game, which leads the WCC.
Jones, a senior forward, is another conference statistical leader. While leading the Gaels in scoring at 14.0 ppg, he also pulls down an impressive 10.6 rebounds per game, leading the conference by a full 2 rebounds per outing. At 6'6", he will likely match up more with Charles Abouo. If Abouo can keep Jones occupied, Davies and the rest of BYU's bigs will need to step up and clean the glass.