After the BYU basketball team practiced Monday night and did interviews with media members, I stayed in the Marriott Center longer than usual to work on this little preview of tonight's game (7 p.m., BYUtv) against Georgia State, and also because I had some time to kill before football practice ended.
I was there long enough to watch Georgia State players and coaches walk out on to the MC floor, and begin a light practice. The Panthers are quick and athletic, with a little bit of height mixed in. It's been said that teams that play a lot of zone defense (such as BYU) don't like to get zoned on the other end of the floor. Well, expect a lot of zone tonight from the visitors, if not the Cougars as well.
I don't predict the outcome of games, but I've got a feeling the Panthers are going to give the Cougars all they can handle tonight. It should be a good one. Remember, this team gave Duke a competitive game at Cameron last Friday while BYU was struggling to put away TSU.
"It is a real athletic team, similar to Tennessee State. They won 22 games last year. They don't have as many returning players, but it is going to be the same system. It is going to be a really interesting game, because they change defenses more than any teams we have ever played since we've been here," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "San Francisco changes their defenses quite a bit, but we will see a lot of full-court pressure. We will see a lot of half-court traps.
We will see two or three different types of zones in the half-court, and that can effect us.
We need to play on attack. We can't sit around and try to dissect what they are in. There are certain areas where we need to attack the floor, and hopefully we will be disciplined and we can do that."
Rose said BYU must match GSU's aggressive attack and get the game at a pace it likes.
"This will be different. I think our fans will watch this game tomorrow and they will see a real different approach to how the game is being played. We will need to keep our pace. What we do will have to be a priority for us, but not turn that thing over," Rose said. "They make a play on almost every pass. They make a play on almost every ball.
This comes from a lot of different sets. Sometimes they will have their 5-8 guy on the baseline and run their 1-3-1. Sometimes they will have their 6-10, 6-11 guy down there.
You just have to continue to play through that and not slow you down and continue to dissect it."
Personnel-wise, the Cougars are starting to get into a routine, Rose's rotations are starting to take shape.
Sophomore guard Anson Winder sat out of the TSU game while trying to rest a nagging ankle injury. Rose said Winder has had four or five good days of practice and will probably dress tonight.
"It is doing better," Rose said. "He is getting closer to playing."
Rose said they will start the same five guys -- Brandon Davies, Tyler Haws, Matt Carlino, Brock Zylstra and Josh Sharp -- who started Friday against TSU, but he isn't saying how long that lineup will last -- either tonight or into the future.
"That will be interesting for us. We will plan on starting that way. But the way that they defend, we may play a few more shooters on the perimeter. We will just have to wait and see how the game turns out and how the flow of the game goes."
As for the guys who haven't been getting a lot of minutes early, Rose said he hasn't written off anybody yet.
"The most important thing is confidence. You make sure guys know that we believe in them, and they will get their opportunity, and hopefully they make the most of it when their time comes."
One aspect of Friday's win over TSU that BYU fans might not have noticed is that sophomore point guard Matt Carlino had 10 assists. Carlino is certainly looking to be more of a game manager and a distributor this year. How long that will last is anybody's guess, but Rose likes what he has seen so far.
"I think it was a great step forward for him, and the confidence from his teammates in his ability to play the point guard position for us," Rose said. "I thought that he was aggressive, he was on attack, he shared the ball well, and then took advantage of his opportunities.
I thought Cory [Calvert] came in and did a nice job spelling him as well. Hopefully we can get a solid 40 minutes out of that position from two or three guys."