BYU vs. Gonzaga Prediction: Can BYU Keep It Close?

Ben (@WeBeatTheSpread) covers the west coast conference rematch which saw Gonzaga take a convincing rout at home 110-84 back on January 13th. Who does Ben think will cover the thirteen-point spread tonight?
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BYU vs. Gonzaga Prediction: Can BYU Keep It Close?

Mark Few and the Bulldogs have had another successful start to their season, thanks to the offense led by Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren. Both rank in Kenpom's top ten players in the nation and have helped their team cruise to a perfect 7-0 start in conference play and an 18-2 record overall. It's no secret that Gonzaga's offense is considered one of the best offenses in the nation, if not the best.

Specifically, in the first meeting this year, Drew Timme shot 13/14, only missing one three. The Bulldogs shot almost 80% from the floor collectively that night. As talented as this team is, that's a hard performance to replicate, especially on the road. Tonight will mark only their third true road trip of the year and it sets up to be possibly one of Gonzaga's hardest games of the year so far. BYU is a solid team who is always pumped up to play Gonzaga, and they will surely be loud in the Marriott Center tonight.

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BYU vs. Gonzaga Prediction

The Cougars have had an up-and-down season so far, and they have dropped three in a row coming into this one. They will try to avoid a four-game losing streak tonight, something they haven't had since the 2013 season. The offense is led by senior guard Alex Barcello, who had 19 points in the first meeting with Gonzaga. He will have to have another big night if they want to stay in this one.

Gonzaga plays at one of the fastest paces in the nation, so you can't afford to stall for even a few minutes. BYU has been a gritty home team this year, going 10-1 at the Marriott Center with wins over San Diego State, Utah State, and Saint Mary's. Their only home loss is their most recent game against San Francisco in which they lost 73-59 just two nights ago. The Key for BYU to have a more successful outing against Gonzaga this time around will be to limit second-chance points and slow down Drew Timme. Center Fousseyni Traore will have his hands full trying to limit the short-range offense from Timme, but I do think he is capable of keeping him more at bay than his 93% shooting performance in the last meeting.

We all know what the Bulldogs are capable of. They are an offensive juggernaut who has dropped over 100 points multiple times this year. However, if they were going to drop a game, or have a closer performance, it would be tonight. BYU only lost the last home meeting by eleven, and they won outright in the home meeting before that two seasons ago. They always play better at home, and as I touched on earlier, the Bulldogs have not been away from their home court much this year. Do I think that BYU can win this game outright again? Probably not, but I think this is too many points in a conference road game against a team that has given them fits before. If Timme shoots 93% again I'll eat my words, but I bet the Cougars keep this one in single digits.

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BYU vs. Gonzaga Pick

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Ben Rajavuori is a handicapper out of Minneapolis, MN. He has been creating sports content for almost four years now and is an expert in all things NFL, MLB, NBA, UFC, and NCAAB. Ben thrives on diving deep into statistics to find the best angle on every bet. You can follow him on Twitter @WeBeatTheSpread.

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