St. Mary’s or BY whU ‘Ya Got?

Yeah, yeah.  We know all about Gonzaga.  Most athletic Zaga squad ever, all the size you’d want, Kyle Wiltjer gained Herculean strength during his year off.

But AT LEAST one other WCC team will make the NCAA Tournament.

BYU or St. Mary’s:  Who YOU got?

After watching the first of two games this season, I blogged about how both teams could make a Sweet 16 run.  St. Mary’s was the more impressive, but BYU was also down a man.  Click here to read my full game recap from mid-January. 

In the second game between these two teams, BYU again proved that it can score in transition.

On the flip side, BYU does not get much offensive production on its offensive front court.  On the defensive end, much of the same.  At least the Cougars switch up their defensive schemes, double-team, help defense and try to confuse.  If BYU plays another quality shooting team in March; say an Ohio State, Arkansas, Indiana or North Carolina, take the over.

For storylines, you’d take St. Mary’s.  They have five veteran seniors with serious “skin in the game.”  One, point guard Aaron Bright was the 2012 NIT MVP with Stanford.  The next season he dislocated a shoulder and missed an entire season.  With Stanford point guard Chasson Randle coming up, Bright transferred to St. Mary’s in 2013.  He’s now 22-years-old.

Second, back-court mate Kerry Carter also took five years to ripen after three years at Citrus College of the Western State Conference.

Third, small forward Garrett Jackson started his collegiate career at USC.  You’ll see him doing the dirty work now for the Gaels.  However, he was once a prized recruit for the Golden State.  Jackson was ranked 82nd overall by ESPNU when he came out in 2010.

Fourth, power forward Desmond Simmons played all his years at Washington under coach Lorenzo Romar.  Now he’s using his last year of eligibility for this run.

And, finally, Brad Waldo.  This center reminds me of a mixture of Brad Daugherty and Bryant Reeves.  This version of “Big Country” has been a mainstay with the Gaels, even since they topped Gonzaga in the regular season in the 2010-2011 campaign.

But, by the eye test, I can’t ignore BYU’s offensive skills.  St. Mary’s guards are undersized when combined.  If Waldo is not effective, it could be a long night.  I really like the activity level of BYU from the perimeter.  They led St. Mary’s 75-45 with its full compliment of players.  Note: neither BYU or St. Mary’s are on Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of bracketology.

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