On Thursday night the no. 23 BYU Cougars will be in action for the first time since entering the AP Poll on Monday. They’ll face the visiting Santa Clara Broncos.
The Cougars narrowly escaped San Diego with a win on Saturday. The final score was 72-71 with the winning basket coming on a TJ Haws to Yoeli Childs alley-oop, and the solidifying of the win coming with a defensive stop. The win at San Diego was the Cougars’ 21st overall, putting them at 21-7 on the season and keeping them at second place in the WCC with a 10-3 conference record. Keep in mind that the Cougars were without Dalton Nixon in that game, and will likely be without him for the next couple of weeks.
The Broncos and Cougars have not faced each other yet this season, and Thursday will be their one and only meeting. Santa Clara is 18-9 overall and 5-7 in the WCC. No game in WCC play is ever a sure win (as BYU has well learned by this point), but Santa Clara did look a little more threatening early on in the season, with wins over Saint Mary’s and Pacific. Now the Broncos have lost their last three games — at Pepperdine, against San Francisco, and most recently they lost to LMU at home, 65-59 the final score.
Thurday’s game will be an important one for the Cougs — A chance for them to show they’re worthy of their entrance into the AP Poll, all the NCAA Tournament talk (some writers are suggesting that BYU could make a run as deep as the Sweet 16), and to set them up for a big matchup with no. 2 Gonzaga on Saturday at the Marriott Center. ESPN’s Matchup Predictor gives BYU a 95 percent chance of beating Santa Clara.
Here’s how you can watch:
- Thurs. Feb. 20, 7:00 p.m. MT
- Marriott Center, Provo, UT
- CBS Sports Network
- CBSSports.com (login required)
TV Broadcast Team:
- Michael Grady (play-by-play)
- Ryan Hollins (analyst)
Leave any thoughts from before, during, or after the game in the comments below.