Gameday primer: 2 BYU vs. 6 Portland

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Kyle Collinsworth dunks the ball in BYU's win over Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals. (Mark A. Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Kyle Collinsworth dunks the ball in BYU’s win over Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals. (Mark A. Philbrick/BYU Photo)

6 Portland vs. 2 BYU (9:30 MST; ESPN2)

Regular season meetings: The Cougars swept the regular season series, defeating the Pilots 97–88 in Provo on Dec. 29 and 82–69 in Portland on Feb. 26.

Momentum factor: BYU comes in hot after Tyler Haws’ last–second jumper helped the Cougars survive a scare against Santa Clara, while Portland’s resounding 69–52 upset of third–seeded Saint Mary’s has the Pilots riding high.

What a win means: A spot in Tuesday’s tournament championship game, where they’ll face off against the winner of 4 Pepperdine vs. 1 Gonzaga (7:00 MST; ESPN). A win would also solidify the Cougars’ resume as worthy of selection to the NCAA Tournament, regardless of what happens on Tuesday. Lose, and Dave Rose’s squad may be forced to settle for a berth in the NIT.

Players to watch: Tyer Haws is averaging 25.8 ppg in career games against Portland, including a personal-best 48 against the Pilots in 2013. The Cougars should be wary of Portland’s sophomore guard Alec Wintering, who managed to go off for 30 points earlier in the Marriott Center.

What Vegas oddsmakers are saying: The early line favors BYU by 8.5 points.

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