Monday blues? BYU is 2-1 on Monday this year, faces USF tonight
It will be interesting to see how BYU does tonight in its basketball game against San Francisco in the West Coast Conference tournament semifinals at Orleans Arena without the benefit of having practiced on Sunday. My hunch is that it won't make a difference, one way or the other. The Dons and Cougars know each other so well, having already played twice this season, that one extra practice session that San Francisco got in Sunday afternoon isn't going to matter that much. Besides, BYU has been successful with this kind of schedule before. The Cougars (22-10) are 2-1 in Monday games this season, having defeated Stanford 112-103 on Nov. 11 in Palo Alto and Texas 86-82 at the CBE Tournament in Kansas City on Nov. 25. They lost to Pepperdine 80-74 on Monday, Dec. 30 in Malibu. On having the day off: "Well, everyone will deal with that day a little bit differently. We will see how that works out on Monday. We're glad to be here," is all BYU coach Dave Rose would say about the topic after the Cougars beat LMU 85-74 on Saturday. Here's my advance of today's game, which focuses on San Francisco's confidence level despite the fact that the Dons were swept by the Cougars and the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the regular season. Rose's response, when I told him about USF coach Rex Walters' comments: "He's got the hottest team. If you [look] at what they have done down the stretch, they are playing really well. I respect a guy who has a lot of confidence in the team he's coaching." Confidence aside, Rose said the thing that makes the Dons great is balance. Senior Cole Dickerson "is the steady force inside who has come on so strong to make them good all year long," Rose said. "He's really playing well now, and then he's got a group of perimeter shooters that he can always depend on. With [Mark] Tollefsen and [Tiim] Derksen and [Avry] Holmes, they've got themselves a really balanced team, and I think that's why Rex is so confident." Add in junior college transfer Kruize Pinkins, a 6-7, 230-pound junior from Marianna, Fla., and the revolving door that Walters has going at San Francisco is paying off. "They spread the floor really well, and they've got really good shooters," Rose said. "Holmes is a guy who can really direct the whole thing. He can drive, and he kicks that thing, and they've got four really good 3-point shooters who are on the floor all the time. Then the big kid [Pinkins] inside is the difference. I think that's made a huge difference for them, to throw that thing in there and get points. So, we will try to guard him without double-teaming him, because if you double team him, you leave open one of those shooters. We will see what we can do."