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BYU Cougars vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Pick-Odds-Prediction 2/20/14

Gonzaga Bulldogs (23-4) at BYU Cougars (18-10)

College Basketball: Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 11:00 pm (Marriott Center)

The Line: BYU Cougars -1.5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN2

Storyline: Gonzaga hopes for a longer stay in the Top 25 this time around when they visit BYU at the Marriott Center Thursday.

The Breakdown: The Bulldogs returned to the national rankings this week at #25 after an 88-67 dismantling of Loyola Marymount Saturday. At 13-1, the Zags now sit atop the WCC 3.5 games ahead of second place BYU. Against LMU, Gonzaga connected on 46.8 percent from the floor and 32.0 percent from outside the arc to the Lions’ 44.2 percent from the field and 30.8 percent from distance. The Zags dominated the boards 40-25 and converted 20 of 25 from the free throw line. Senior F Sam Dower had a game-high 25 points and 15 rebounds, junior G Kevin Pangos scored 17 points, and sophomore C Przemek Karnowski added 11 points and 6 boards. On the season, the Bulldogs are averaging 78.4 ppg on 50.0 percent shooting. Pangos leads the team with 15.2 ppg, followed by Dower at 14.8 ppg.

BYU Cougars vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs Pick-Odds-Prediction 2/20/14

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, BYU improved to 10-5 for sole possession of 2nd place in the conference after a narrow 60-57 victory over St. Mary’s Saturday. The Cougars connected on 24 of 48 from the floor and 1 of 8 from outside the arc to the Gaels’ 22 of 53 and 4 of 19. BYU conceded a 36-29 rebounding advantage and forced 14 turnovers. Junior G Tyler Haws scored a game-high 18 points and dished out 4 assists, sophomore G Kyle Collinsworth had 14 points and 6 rebounds, and junior G Anson Winder added 7 points off the bench. Through 28 games, the Cougars are averaging 85.5 ppg on 46.9 percent shooting. Haws leads the team with 24.1 ppg, followed by Collinsworth at 14.1 ppg.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this matchup is currently set at 1.5 for BYU. Gonzaga topped the Cougars by 15 at home a little less than a month ago and shot a stellar 57.4 percent from the field. This should be a good matchup, but the Zags’ stay in the Top 25 will be even shorter than the last time if they drop this one so look for them to cover and, in effect , close the door on BYU’s chances at catching them for first place in the WCC. 

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Gonzaga +1.5

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