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Eye on the Y: Moving the BYU-Gonzaga game to Monday may not please fans, but is the right call

With half the WCC teams on pause due to COVID-19, Cougars are trying to fit in as many games as possible and leave room for rescheduling.

BYU guard Alex Barcello,left, and Gonzaga guard Andrew Nembhard go after the ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Let’s just get it out of the way: No, a Monday night contest against Gonzaga doesn’t have the same ring as playing the top-ranked team in the nation in the regular-season finale.

I’ve seen plenty of people complaining about the schedule change on social media, and I low-key understand.

Who wants a Monday night game, especially when tipoff is at 9 p.m.? Everyone start getting your doctors excuses and time-off requests in for the next morning because it could be a long night.

Now, I’m not expecting a game like last season’s. First of all, there won’t be fans allowed in the Marriott Center, just family of players and coaches. So, the atmosphere definitely will not compare.

(I will say, last season’s game was probably the best game I’ve EVER experienced.)

The Zags (17-0; 8-0 WCC) are also playing at a higher level than they were a year ago. They’re playing like an NBA-caliber team, so the Cougars will have a tough challenge on their hands. But it will be considered a success if BYU (14-4; 5-2 WCC) can at least keep it competitive.

Say the Cougars manage to have only a single-digit loss, that would help them continue to stay in the NCAA Tournament and avoid the bubble. Also, it will set up a monumental week in Provo as BYU hosts Saint Mary’s on Feb. 11.

With all the changes to the schedule lately, here’s a refresher for those who lost count:

Feb. 4, at Portland, 5 p.m.

Feb. 8, Gonzaga, 9 p.m.

Feb. 11, Saint Mary’s, 9 p.m.

Feb. 18, at Pacific, TBA

Feb. 20, at Loyola Marymount, TBA

Feb. 25, Santa Clara, TBA

Now, the Cougars still have outstanding postponed games with San Francisco and San Diego, but it is unclear if they’ll get scheduled back in.

More thoughts

• Can you believe it’s already time for the Super Bowl? I don’t have a favorite going into Sunday’s game, but I plan to watch it. I’m working a news shift that day, so I may end up missing the start. Who are you rooting for? I know there’s some BYU connections, so I can take a guess on who y’all would like to win, but I’d like to hear from you.

• Speaking of Sunday, I have a teaser for y’all. This week’s print edition will feature a story on BYU offensive lineman Tristen Hoge and his journey through COVID-19, pneumonia, the 2020 season and how he’s preparing for the 2021 NFL draft. I got to talk to not only Tristen, but also his father, Marty, who pleaded with Cougar Nation back in September to take the pandemic seriously.

• BYU’s No. 12-ranked gymnastics team will finally open at home on Friday with a meet against Southern Utah. Fans won’t be allowed to attend, but can read up on Angel Zhong — a senior who came back from injury to compete in this pandemic-riddled season.

Other voices

• For those who immerse themselves in all things college football, the NCAA broke down both Super Bowl teams’ rosters to show which college each player went to. You can check that out here.

• Kyle Ireland of KSL Sports wrote about BYU grad/Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s coaching style, which is to “treat people the way I’d want to be treated.”

• A compilation of BYU basketball’s Tournament projections, put together by Casey Lundquist of SI.

Normita’s Spanish Lesson of the Week

aperitivos

appetizers

¿Cuántos aperitivos van a tener para el día del juego?

How many appetizers will you have for game day?

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