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BYU: Riding the Wave

By Randolph Fairbairn   |  Posted Feb 16th, 2012 @ 9:13am



PROVO -- After an ugly, but very effective 79-60 win at Portland the BYU Cougars enjoyed a week off to work on shooting woes and heal some injuries. BYU shot a team record 53 FT's against the Pilots in the win. BYU returned home Saturday and put the pedal to the metal and crushed Pepperdine 86-48.

It was all BYU against the Waves from the opening tip as the Cougars opened a big lead and led at halftime 46-25. Charles Abouo was the star in the game as he scored 23 points and had 12 rebounds to go with two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in just 27 minutes of play.

The Cougars are off until Thursday when they start a crucial two-game road trip. It starts in San Francisco against the (17-10, 7-6) Dons. In our Names to Watch section you can read more about San Francisco. BYU will then travel to Santa Clara (8-17, 0-12) Saturday to play the Broncos. Both games can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM & 102.7 FM and the BYU Radio Sports Network. The Pre-game Thursday, starts at 7:00 p.m. followed by the tip-off at 8:00 p.m.

Best Division-1 teams in the State of Utah

  1. BYU (21-6), two road games starting Thursday at USF and then Saturday @ Santa Clara.
  2. Weber State (20-4), 12-1 in the Big Sky, at Montana St. on Wednesday.
  3. Utah State (13-13) have lost 3 of 4, UCSB Saturday in Logan.
  4. UVU (18-10), have won 11 straight. Could put them ahead of Utah State, but more work to do before that happens.
  5. Southern Utah (13-13) have lost 3 of 4, at Oakland on Wednesday.
  6. Utah (5-20), close against ASU, signs of life for a half against Arizona. Have lost 10 out of 11.

Names to watch in the West Coast Conference

  • This week's Player of the Week in the West Coast Conference, "Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos is the West Coast Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week. The freshman point guard becomes the first three-time winner this season, after averaging 24 points and 5.5 assists, while not committing a turnover as the Bulldogs beat previously-unbeaten Saint Mary's and Loyola Marymount last week. In the victory over the Gaels, Pangos scored 27 points, including 5-of-6 from beyond the three-point arc. For the week, Pangos was 16-for-28 shooting, and 10-for-13 from three."

  • BYU's Charles Abouo was also nominated for WCC Player of the Week.

  • Watch for these guys this week when BYU plays at USF on Thursday. Angelo Caloiaro, Perris Blackwell, Michael Williams and Rashad Green. The four average between 11 and 14.7 ppg as the top four scorers for the Dons. It's a very balanced team offensively. After starting 0-4 in WCC play the San Francisco has a 7-2 record since their back- to-back losses at St Mary's and BYU in early January. The played LMU tight losing just 90-88 on the road in Los Angeles.

Games to watch in the WCC

  • Loyola Marymount had a huge chance Wednesday to make a post-season statement. Although it will pretty much take winning the WCC tournament in Las Vegas for the Lions to go to the Big Dance, their upset victory, on the road, against St. Mary's will go a long way. LMU will play in the post-season no doubt, but the win over the Gaels in Moraga sets them up for a shot at back-to-back big game opportunities this Friday. The Lions will play a BracketBuster game against Valparaiso (18-9, 11-4). The Lions are (17-10, 10-4), but are a very solid 9-3 on the road including wins at UCLA and USF.

  • Further with the BracketBuster event from the WCC, "No. 16 Saint Mary's (23-3) will visit No. 14 Murray State (24-1, 12-1) Saturday February 18th in the BracketBuster's marquee match-up in a nationally televised game on ESPN." This is one to mark on the calendar, should be great game.

  • Saturday #24 Gonzaga (20-4, 10-2) is at USF (17-10, 7- 6). A killer two-game home stretch for the Dons. BYU and Gonzaga back-to-back Thursday and Saturday.

National Noise

The National Rankings continue to be turned upside down….

  • Another big week for teams on the bubble or close to it wanting to make a statement and get some attention from the NCCA committee. Wednesday's games, Missouri State (16-11, 9-6) plays No. 24 Wichita State (22-4, 13- 2). Old foes of BYU, New Mexico (20-4, 6-2) at No. 13 San Diego State. The Aztecs are in right now and the Lobos are looking good. The Lobos then play No. 11 UNLV (22-4) on Saturday. NC State (18-7, 7-3) will be at No. 5 Duke (21-4, 8-2) on Thursday and then play No. 20 Florida State (17-7, 8-2) Saturday.

  • Top games of the week. The Big 10 leads the way with two top end games starting Thursday in East Lansing. No. 7 Michigan State (20-5) hosts No. 15 Wisconsin (19-6) at the Breslin Center. Saturday has No. 6 Ohio State (21-4) and No. 17 Michigan (19-7) in Ann Arbor.

  • Saturday, the SEC has No. 14 Florida (19-6) against Arkansas (17-8). The Razorbacks are 17-1 on their home floor and looking to get off the "bubble".

  • UConn will have another chance Saturday to enhance its post-season opportunities. Most prognosticators have the defending National Champion Huskies out of the big dance. At 15-9 and 5-7 in the Big East UCONN plays No. 21 Marquette (21-5).

  • If you want to see one of the most "under the radar" teams in the country tune in Saturday to Long Beach State (19-6) and Creighton (21-5), 9 p.m. Mountain time. Many experts think Long Beach State will make the NCAA with an at-large bid because of the killer schedule they have played. The 49ers are 12-0 in the Big West, but have played the likes of Pittsburgh, No. 13 SDSU, No. 19 Louisville, No. 4 Kansas, No. 8 North Carolina, Xavier and Kansas State.

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