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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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BYU expecting tough road test at Loyola Marymount

Let's start the day off with a few links to articles in the Tribune this morning:

Here's my report from BYU basketball practice last night, focusing primarily on Stephen Rogers' condition. My hunch is that, three weeks after undergoing surgery for a torn meniscus, Rogers will play Thursday night at Loyola Marymount.

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Check out this column by Tribune television critic Scott Pierce on Robbie Bullough, a BYUtv reporter/producer and all-around good guy.

Gordon Monson predicts what will happen in local college football in 2012 in this column.

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As mentioned, the Cougars are back on the road on Thursday, taking on Loyola Marymount at 4,156-seat Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. MST (6 p.m. in California) and the game will be televised by BYUtv.

Coach Dave Rose spoke at length after practice Tuesday about LMU's ability to rise to the occasion against good teams.

"It is an interesting scout. It is almost the same challenge that we have had, because they have a couple players that have been out for a game or two, a couple players that have missed quite a few [games]. But when you look at their stats overall, and then their individual game stats, it is kind of hard to get a read on the team," he said.

"They have a lot of guys who have had really big games. And looks like, from what you read, maybe they will get them all back on Thursday when we play them. We will prepare for each one of them individually. I think that what they do really well, just inherently naturally causes us problems.

"So we are going to have to focus in and execute a game plan defensively."

BYU players who played a lot of summer AAU ball such as Brandon Davies are familiar with LMU's gym because it routinely host summer club basketball tournaments. But the Cougars have not played at LMU in the Rose era.

"I have been there a couple of times when I have been in Los Angeles and needed a practice facility. Some of these guys have played quite a bit of AAU ball in there, just because there is usually a big tournament there every year at the end of the [summer] season. But it will be another interesting trip for these guys, as far as the newness of everything," Rose said.

Couple more comments from Rose about Thursday's game, how the team is playing:

On Brandon Davies' recent contributions:

"Well, I think that what was most impressive with Brandon's week was just how active he was, possession by possession. The minutes that he played, he was able to stay out of foul trouble, and be on the floor, and I think that that consistent flow of being on the floor, and not coming out with his second foul, and coming out early in the second half with his third foul. His ability to stay on the floor will really help his game, and consistency is Brandon's challenge, because he's extremely capable, and he will get some real resistance this week.

Any time you have a week like that, you will be really scouted highly, and the game plan is going to revolve around trying to make it really difficult on you. We will see how he handles it."

On how the perimeter defense is coming along:

"I think we have made some real improvements. In the last two days in practice, we have been able to work on it extensively, which I think will help us. I think that teams, it comes down to matchups. Our guards, the tandems that we play, they really have to help each other, and we seem to have played a lot of different tandems of guards. I think that if we can get consistently into a group of three or four rotation of guys that are real confident playing with each other. Because of the style that we play, guys have to know how each other are going to react.

And I think it is just a process. I think the more we play, the better we will get."

On what they got out of three-week stretch without Stephen Rogers:

"I think the most important thing to realize is that's part of the game, and that is part of putting yourself into a position where you are trying to win a championship, that things aren't going to go right all the time, and that when you have challenges like that, somebody else needs to step up.

In that time frame, we've had had two or three other players who have really stepped up and made a difference, and hopefully that helps us down the road where we can get a couple more guys with a little more confidence that can help our team."



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