Portland Pilots vs. BYU Cougars Pick-Odds-Prediction 1/23/14
BYU Cougars (13-7) at Portland Pilots (11-8)
College Basketball: Thursday, January 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm (Earle A. Chiles Center)
The Line: Portland Pilots +5 -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Storyline: The BYU Cougars eye their sixth-straight win and look to inch closer to first place in the WCC when they square off with the Portland Pilots Thursday.
The Breakdown: BYU sits in second place in the conference and one game behind Gonzaga with a record of 5-2. The Cougars have rattled off five straight since opening league play by dropping their first two, including a 91-81 victory over Santa Clara Saturday. BYU was on fire, hitting a season-high 61 percent from the field and 7 of 11 from outside the arc, while holding the Broncos to 27 of 61 from the field and 9 of 25 from distance. Sophomore G Kyle Collinsworth had a team high 18 points to go along with 7 rebounds and junior G Tyler Haws added 16 points and connected on 6 of 6 from the free throw line. The Cougars also finished with a 36-27 rebounding edge. Through 20 games, BYU ranks 4th nationally with 87.3 ppg on 47 percent shooting and Haws leads the team with 22.2 ppg.
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Meanwhile, Portland is 3-4 in conference and comes in off a 76-65 loss to Pepperdine Saturday, in which they were outshot from the field 48.1 percent to 40.7 percent and outrebounded 40-27. The Pilots connected on 6 of 17 from beyond the arc and hit 15 of 23 from the foul line. Junior G Kevin Bailey had a game-high 27 points, including 12 of 14 from the free throw line and senior F Ryan Nicholas added 14 points and 7 boards. On the season, Portland is averaging 77.4 ppg on 45.7 percent shooting and Bailey leads the team with 17.2 ppg.
Rick’s Pick: The line in this one is currently set at -5 for BYU and the Cougars had a sizeable four-game skid at the end of nonconference play that actually led into their first two league games. BYU has since reeled off six straight decisively and seem to have shaken off whatever it was that brought them down. Look for the Cougars to cover.