BYU's biggest basketball game of the season is set for Wednesday night at the Marriott Center, as the 14-4, 4-0 Cougars host the 13-4, 2-1 Gaels of St. Mary's in a game crucial to both teams' conference crown and NCAA Tournament hopes.
BYU head coach Dave Rose on Tuesday called the Gaels "a team that expects to go on the road and win, and they've been really successful with it...and they were successful in here last year, so hopefully our guys are ready."
On a day when it was learned that two BYU football coaches had been let go, the school Tuesday announced the hiring of two new assistant coaches, with former Cougars Garett Tujague and Mark Atuaia joining the offensive staff; their positional assignments will not be announced until the entire staff is finalized.
In BYU's press release on the new hirings, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said "Garett and Mark have unique skills and experiences and are fine, capable men that I'm counting on to help our players reach their full potential. Each has a history with BYU and a passion to help the program move forward."
A source close to the BYU Football program has confirmed that running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Joe DuPaix and wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon were let go by head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Monday.
Both coaches had completed their second year on Mendenhall's staff. DuPaix came to BYU from Navy, where he had served for three seasons as slotbacks coach. Cahoon joined the BYU staff after a record-setting 13-year career as a wideout in the Canadian Football League. Cahoon also played wide receiver at BYU in 1996 and 1997.
Former offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman has yet to have his coaching status confirmed. I am told that there is a chance Doman could remain on the staff.
For the first time since Jimmer Fredette wore BYU blue, the Cougar hoopsters have won six games in a row--their longest run since BYU put together a seven-game streak near the end of Fredette's senior season in 2010-11.
The sixth win in the current streak was Saturday's 82-64 win at Santa Clara, which was also's BYU's first victory over a top 100 RPI team this season. After losing a nine-point halftime lead and seeing the Kevin Foster-led Broncos forge a 50-all tie with 13:37 to play, the Cougars went on a season-long 18-0 run over a span of six minutes and 10 seconds to put the game away.
Dave Rose has led the BYU basketball team to six consecutive NCAA Tournaments, and in those six seasons, the Cougars played an average of 33 games before Selection Sunday. With 16 games in the books, the Cougars are approaching the halfway pole of the 2012-13 season, and the question arises: is this an NCAA Tournament team?
The current and projected numbers seem to say "yes," but work remains to be done, since the Cougars aren't the mid-season shoo-in to go dancing that they have been in some recent seasons.
BYU is 12-4 through 16 games, and comparing the Cougars' current 16-game record to that of the last six NCAA Tournament entrants shows that the 2012-13 squad is generally in line with those teams.
The Cougar hoopsters accomplished a couple of notable firsts the other night in winning 80-76 at San Francisco: BYU is 2-0 in league play for the first time as a West Coast Conference member, and has its first four-game win streak of the season.
The comeback at USF also represented a somewhat more significant achievement: the Cougars figured out how to win without being able to follow their traditional formula for victory.
Robert Anae is officially back as BYU Football's offensive coordinator; the news was announced by head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Friday afternoon in a school press release.
PROVO — According to a source close to the BYU Football program, Robert Anae will return to serve as the Cougars' offensive coordinator, a little more than two years after he resigned from that post to coach the offensive line and coordinate the run game at the University of Arizona.
BYU center Brandon Davies is on pace to play against Loyola Marymount Thursday night in the Cougars' West Coast Conference opener, five days after spraining his right ankle in a weekend win over Virginia Tech.
The first-to-second degree sprain kept Davies off the practice floor on Monday, with some limited activity on Tuesday. Wednesday, he participated in the team's entire one hour, 40 minute practice at the Marriott Center, with head coach Dave Rose saying Davies' injured ankle "has progressively felt better each day."
"He practiced pretty good today," said Rose. "Hopefully it feels good tomorrow, and we can count on him."
Tyler Haws' career-high scoring effort against Virginia Tech propelled him to his first West Coast Conference Player of the Week honor on Monday.
Haws' 42 points scored against the Hokies are the most scored by any Division I player this season. In two BYU wins last week, Haws averaged 28.5 points per game, while shooting 54% from the field, 75% from the arc, and 91% from the stripe.
It's a belated Christmas present for BYU football fans: linebacker Kyle Van Noy is staying for his senior season with the Cougars, and will not enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
In a press release Monday morning, Van Noy made his decision official:
"I've decided to stay and complete my senior season at BYU," Van Noy said. "I plan to finish what I started and feel like I've still got some unfinished business. I'm looking forward to being on the field this next season with my Cougar teammates."
Saying there are "a lot of undecided spots on our roster, as far as playing time is concerned," BYU head coach Dave Rose anticipates that he'll "probably" change up his starting lineup for Thursday night's home game with Northern Arizona.
After using the same starting quintet for the season's first five games, Rose has since used four different lineups in the ensuing seven games, with only small forward Tyler Haws and center Brandon Davies having started every game.
Matt Carlino has started eight of the 12 games at point guard, and after a brief spell coming off the bench, has re-joined Haws and Davies as an every-game starter. Those three players comprise BYU's "big three," with the trio atop the BYU ledger in points scored and shots taken.
For a BYU record-extending fourth consecutive year, the Cougars head into the offseason coming off a bowl victory. Bronco Mendenhall's team has finished with a winning record for the seventh consecutive season--the longest such run since LaVell Edwards put together a string of 17 straight winning seasons from 1976 through 1992.
But despite the relative consistency of success, all is not well with the Cougars, and there is work to be done--specifically on the offensive side of the ball.
High school hoops phenom Jabari Parker kept BYU in the running until Decision Day, but has announced that he will play his college basketball for Duke University.
As Thursday's Poinsettia Bowl between BYU and San Diego State inches closer, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and San Diego State head coach Rocky Long took part in Wednesday morning's press conference to preview the match-up.
It's been almost a month since the Cougars played their final regular season game at New Mexico State, and Bronco is ready to get back on the field.
"Each year about this time, I feel a huge relief once we get back onto the game field. The practices seem to have gone longer and the preparation; you kinda run out of things to do other than start to worry...anxious at this point to just play the game."
With the Poinsettia Bowl just two days away, BYU hit the practice field once again at Helix High School in La Mesa, Calif. on Tuesday.
Instead of being greeted with warm sun and blue skies, the Cougars worked out in the rain for the majority of their their 90-minute session.
Despite the precipitation, everyone seemed happy with the improvement from Monday's "sluggish" practice.
With a Poinsettia Bowl meeting with San Diego State only three days away, BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was a bit disappointed in the Cougars' first San Diego practice Monday.
"I thought it was a little sluggish", Bronco said after the session at Helix High School. "Moving from the hotel, practicing here; a little bit different practice time in the morning...wasn't quite as sharp as what I expected or hoped for."
BYU practiced in shorts and helmets today, and will do the same thing on Tuesday. Mendenhall said the team got most of its contact work done back in Provo. "This is a very similar model we've followed with the successes we've had. I think it matches our team right now."
They were just two games, but each of BYU's last two wins could go a long way to helping the 2012-13 Cougar hoopsters maximize their potential.
Saturday night's 78-68 victory at Weber State was not only the Cougars' first true road win of the season, it snapped a 20-game Weber State homecourt win streak--the nation's fourth-longest run at the time of the game.
Two days ahead of his team's instate set-to at Weber State, BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose on Thursday said his 6-3 squad has "a lot of areas that we can improve upon; we need to play better, and I think our guys know that."
Roughly a quarter of the way through the college hoops season, Rose says his squad has just scratched the surface of its capabilities as it seeks continued improvement.
"I do believe that there's some real potential with this group," said Rose after Thursday's Marriott Center practice. "I believed that from the beginning, and I continue to believe that."
A week away from the Cougars' Poinsettia Bowl meeting with San Diego State, James Lark continues to take the majority of the practice snaps at quarterback.
"It will be mostly that way through the week as Riley (Nelson) continues to kinda recover", said head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Wednesday. "(Nelson's) reps could increase and probably will increase as the week goes."
Bronco also said it's unlikely that he'll name a starter before next Thursday's game against the Aztecs.
The station representative who can assist a person with disabilities with issues related to the content of the public files is Mike Dowdle, available during regular office hours at email@example.com and (801) 575-5555.