BYU remains one of the most overlooked teams in college basketball as the Cougars have defeated Stanford (112-103), Texas (86-82) and St. Mary’s twice (84-71; 60-57) this season. The Cougars are 12-1 SU at home this season and have won their last nine games in the Marriott Center. Even more impressive is the fact that BYU head coach Dave Rose is an incredible 135-13 in eight seasons in Provo, including 14-1 SU and 13-1-1 ATS at home as an underdog or favorite of less than seven points. Let’s also note that BYU is a profitable 15-5 ATS at home after winning two of its last three games and 45-17 ATS at home after winning four of its last five games. Momentum also seems to be a favorite attribute of the Cougars as they are 84-53 ATS at home following one or more consecutive wins.
BYU is averaging 85.5 points per game this season against teams that would combine to allow just 71.6 points per game to a mediocre offensive squad. More importantly, the Cougars are averaging 88.4 points per game at home where they are making 48.6% of their field goal attempts. Overall, BYU is an impressive 13.9 points per game better than average offensively this season, which is certainly potent enough to have success against a very good Gonzaga defense. Specifically, Gonzaga is allowing 65.8 points per game to teams that would combine to average 74.2 points per game, thereby making the Bulldogs 8.4 points per game better than average defensively. Overall, the Cougars possess a significant 5.5 points per game advantage offensively over Gonzaga’s stop unit.
The most glaring negative facing BYU is a defense that is allowing 78.0 points per game to teams that would combine to average 74.1 points per game, thereby making the Cougars 3.9 points per game worse than average on the defensive end of the floor. However, BYU plays significantly better defense within the friendly confines of the Marriott Center where the Cougars are limiting opponents to just 69.1 points per game on 40.7% from the field and 29.7% from beyond the arc. Let’s also note that the Cougars are limiting teams to just 71.2 points over their last five games, which further substantiates my claim that coach Rose’s squad is demonstrating a marked improvement on the defensive end of the floor.
My math model actually favors BYU by four points so we are getting excellent line value on the Cougars tonight. With BYU standing at 5-1 ATS at home when playing with same-season revenge and Gonzaga boasting a 1-35 ATS mark when losing to avenging foes, let’s take the Cougars to improve their at-large NCAA Tournament credentials with a convincing win before the home faithful.