2 – Win the Rebounding Battle
Here’s another area where the Bulldogs excel. Gonzaga is 22nd in the nation in rebounding margin, averaging exactly 40 boards per game and giving up just 33.5.
BYU, on the other hand, is being outrebounded so far this season, pulling in just 36.1 compared to the 37.1 they’re allowing.
And the Cougars have been even worse recently. In their past two games they’ve been outrebounded by both San Francisco (34-20) and St. Mary’s (42-28) by 14.
BYU can’t give second chances to Gonzaga. Their offense is too good to give them extra opportunities, especially since BYU’s defense is usually out of rotation after an opponent’s offensive rebound.
Aside from Yoeli Childs the Cougars haven’t been able to find a reliable rebounder. Luke Worthington’s rebound rate is low for a big man, and his foul trouble keeps him off the court. Gavin Baxter has become a good defensive presence, but he’s no better than Worthington on the boards.
Surprisingly, Zac Seljaas pulls in rebounds at roughly the same rate as both Worthington and Baxter, but none of them have been proficient.
If the Cougars can win the battle of the boards they’ll give themselves a chance to pull off the upset. If Gonzaga outrebounds BYU by more than five this will become a blowout.