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After opening the season with a comfortable win over a 20-win team from last season, Dave Rose's BYU Cougars welcome to Provo a 22-win squad from 2011-12, as the Georgia State Panthers make their first-ever visit to the Marriott Center on Tuesday night.
Calling the Panthers "a very athletic team, similar to (season-opening foe) Tennessee State," Rose previewed the matchup when meeting with reporters after an 80-minute practice Monday afternoon.
"It's going to be a really interesting game," said Rose, "because they change defenses more than any team I think we have ever played since we have been here (as a staff)."
"We'll see a lot of full-court pressure, half-court traps, two or three different kind of zones in the half-court...that can't affect us; we need to play on attack."
In his second season as GSU's head coach, Ron Hunter returns only a single starter from a squad that last season was in the top 15 nationally in a variety of defensive categories: 4th in FG% defense, 4th in steals per game, 11th in scoring defense, 12th in blocked shots per game, and 15th in turnover margin.
"We can't sit around and dissect what they're in (defensively)," said Rose on Monday. "We have certain ways and areas that we need to attack the floor, and hopefully we'll be disciplined, that we can do that."
"We need to get shots; we need to get good shots...they make a play on almost ever pass, they make a play on almost every ball."
Rose said Georgia State's defensive plans may dictate playing more shooters on the perimeter, but he plans to start the same group of five players that opened the Tennessee State game: Matt Carlino, Brock Zylstra, Tyler Haws, Josh Sharp and Brandon Davies.
Rose says guard Anson Winder (ankle) is "doing better...he has ad four or five good days of practice. We'll see how it is tonight, see if he dresses tomorrow. He's getting close." Winder has yet to play, in the exhibition or regular season.
You can hear Rose's entire post-practice media session in "Cougar Cuts," above left.
Tuesday night's game is the second game of BYU's four-game slate in the "Coaches vs. Cancer Classic." Rose said his team's participation "has been in the works for about three years, and I'm glad it's finally here."
BYU generally participates in an annual exempted event, often in multi-team, multi venue tournaments like the "Coaches vs. Cancer" tourney. Other special events like the "ESPN Tip-off Marathon" hold a certain appeal for Rose, who says BYU has been approached about participation in the round-the-clock affair.
The coach says his team's early-November schedules this season and next will preclude the Cougars from taking part, but that lining up tourneys later in November makes playing a "Marathon" game more of an option. Asked if he is interested in playing one of those games in the future, Rose said, "Yeah, I am."
KSL Newsradio coverage of BYU and Tennessee State starts with pregame commentary Tuesday at 6:00pm; the tipoff is set for 7:05.
Photo: Courtesy Jaren Wiley, BYU Photo