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BYU Basketball opens as 7-point favorite over Pacific

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BYU could get a big boost with the return of Yoeli Childs.

NCAA Basketball: Pacific at Gonzaga James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

BYU hits the road this week for a big two-game set versus Pacific and San Francisco. The first game is Thursday night at Pacific, with BYU opening as a 7-point Vegas favorite over the Tigers. KenPom gives BYU a 72% chance to win and predicts a 71-64 final score.

Pacific is 15-6 on the year and part of a 5-way tie for 2nd place in the WCC at 3-2. They took down Saint Mary’s in 4 overtimes earlier this month in Stockton.

Similar to past teams, Pacific plays a deep rotation and relentlessly attacks the basket. Twelve players average double digit minutes per game. The leader of the team is senior guard Jahlil Tripp, who leads the team with 15.4 ppg and 8.3 rpg. Tripp shoots 52% from the field and only 9% from three.

The Tigers do have some size, but their dribble penetration should be BYU’s main focus. BYU has struggled against teams that consistently attack the rim, and that will likely be Pacific’s game plan.

Fortunately, BYU should have Yoeli Childs back. The senior big man returned to practice Tuesday and looked good in warmups versus Gonzaga. The 7-point Vegas spread also indicates that the oddsmakers expect Yoeli back.