The Pepperdine Waves and BYU Cougars meet in the West Coast Conference Tournament on Monday night in Las Vegas. We’re officially in conference tournament season now. The regular season has concluded for every conference, and things are going to begin to get a lot of fun on the college hardwood. There are 11 conference tournament games scheduled for Monday, including two in the West Coast Conference.
In the other West Coast matchup, Saint Mary’s will be looking for a monster upset over Gonzaga. If the Bulldogs lose, it’ll be their first loss of the season. They are the only unbeaten team in the country, and plan to keep it that way into April. It would be like Gonzaga to have a lot of success in the regular season, and then come up short when it matters the most.
In the first NCAA Tournament in two years, Gonzaga is a West Coast Tournament win away from being awarded the No. 1 seed for March Madness. There isn’t much of an argument if Gonzaga goes unbeaten despite playing an easier schedule than most would suggest. They still beat up on Kansas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
It’s going to be someone’s job in the WCC to upset Gonzaga. Could it be Pepperdine or BYU? Unlikely, but that’s why they play the games. BYU goes into the postseason with a record of 19-5 and 10-3 in the conference. That goes nice and all, but Gonzaga has been shoulders above the rest in the WCC. And BYU doesn’t have the privilege of playing at home any longer. The Cougars were deadly at home this season in Utah with a record of 11-2. BYU heads to Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, so it isn’t a long trip to the West Coast Tournament in Nevada.
BYU is coming off a layoff, with their most recent game on February 27 against Saint Mary’s, a 65-51 win to end the season on a four-game winning streak. BYU enters as the No. 2 seed behind Gonzaga, while Pepperdine is coming off a 78-70 win on Saturday against Santa Clara. BYU and Gonzaga both got to skip the quarterfinals and go straight to the semis as a result of their success in the regular season. Head below for our free Pepperdine vs. BYU pick on March 8, 2021.
Pepperdine Waves vs. BYU Cougars West Coast Conference Tournament Betting Odds:
Pepperdine vs. BYU Prediction:
The fact that BYU hasn’t played in two weeks, and Pepperdine should show no rust after playing on Saturday, is something head coach Mark Pope must be aware of. It was on him the past two weeks to keep his guys focused and ready to play tonight. If Pope didn’t do his job properly, then it’s not going to take long to find out. Pope and the Cougars can’t sleep on the Pepperdine combo of Kessler Edwards and Colbey Ross.
Edwards gives the Waves a terrific forward, while Ross is the director of the offense at guard. Edwards went for 18 points and Ross for 19 points in their second regular season meeting on January 27, a 76-73 win in favor of Pepperdine. Edwards is averaging 16.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, and Ross checks in with 18.3 points and 7.7 points per game. BYU won the first of two games by a score of 65-54 in Utah.
Both are shooting beyond 45% from the field. Pepperdine had an efficient offense throughout the season, as they notched 76.1 points per game for 63rd in the NCAA. They shot 46% from the field, and were effective from the free-throw line at 78.3% for 16th. Their defense wasn’t spectacular, with 74.5 points against per game, but what they did do is a tremendous job on the perimeter. Teams are shooting just 27.4% against the Waves from three. That’s third-best in the NCAA.
BYU has been effective offensively this season as well. They’re a sliver better than Pepperdine, with 78.6 points scored per game. The Cougars are a great rebounding team, and rank in the top-20 in that regard. Edwards showed in the regular season clash on January 27 that he’s capable of handling their bigs, though. Off a two-week layoff, it’s certainly possible that the Cougars are going to come out a bit sluggish. I’m not too interested in laying nearly double digits on BYU tonight. If Edwards and Ross aren’t contained, this game could go down to the wire, with nine points being pretty good insurance.