After a dominating win over Portland on Thursday, BYU Basketball faces a hot Santa Clara team, winners of 9 of their last 11 games.
BYU Basketball finally looked like a good basketball team again in Thursday’s blowout of Portland, but they’ll face a tougher test against Santa Clara on Saturday night.
The Broncos are playing very good basketball, winning 9 of their last 11 games. Like the Cougars, they’re 2-1 in the conference, having upset San Diego and held on to beat Pepperdine. Their only WCC loss so far came against No. 5 Gonzaga.
This is a game the Cougars have to win if they want to keep pace in the WCC, especially since the two top seeds get double-byes in Las Vegas.
If BYU is going to cool off a hot Santa Clara team, they’re going to have to do these three things to pick up the win:
Avoid Foul Trouble
Most of the referees that cover the West Coast Conference love to blow their whistles often. The refs called 60 fouls in BYU’s conference opener against Pacific, and 39 against Portland on Thursday.
While the Cougars’ regular rotation players were on the court against he Pilots they completely dominated. But Portland was able to make a major run late in the first half when six BYU players were on the bench with two fouls apiece.
BYU hasn’t completely adjusted yet to the increased whistling from the conference’s refs, and they’ve got to learn that lesson quickly. Santa Clara is too good for the Cougars to beat if they have a repeat performance of Thursday’s foul trouble.
If more than two Cougars have to sit in the first half with two fouls they may dig themselves into a hole that’s too deep to dig out of.