For BYU, overtaking another school's arena comes with a cost
I've mentioned in tweets, blogs and articles that BYU basketball fans often overtake the arenas/gymnasiums in the WCC when the Cougars are in town far more than they did when the Cougars were in the MWC. It is happening despite the fact that general admission ticket prices are doubled when BYU visits. I know that happened at Loyola Marymount, San Diego, Pepperdine and Portland because I stopped at the ticket booths at each place and asked. Officials at those schools aren't stupid; they are going to take advantage of BYU's national draw (due to church members, of course) and pad their athletic department coffers, if they can. Ticket prices are raised when Gonzaga and St. Mary's visit, too, at some places. Last Saturday at Portland, BYU fans outnumbered Portland fans probably 2-1, although there is obviously no way of knowing for sure. I'm just going off what I saw and heard. Reason I bring all this up is because there's an interesting take on that this week in Portland's student-run newspaper, The Beacon. The commentary is from Bruce Garlinghouse, a Portland student who's from Salt Lake City (as he notes in the column) and graduated from Judge Memorial Catholic High School in SLC. Garlinghouse has done some freelance work for The Tribune, if I am not mistaken. On a similar note, did anyone notice the attendance at Thursday night's San Diego-Pepperdine game in Malibu? According to the box score, 747 fans spread out in Firestone Fieldhouse for the game. Yes, 747. It's probably worth noting that attendance for the BYU-Pepperdine game last month in Malibu was 3,104. BYU fans might be irritating the home crowds in the WCC, as Garlinghouse pointed out, but they are are doing wonders for the bottom line. By the way, attendance at last night's Loyola Marymount-Portland game at "the Palace on the Bluff" (seriously, that's what the P.A. guy called it) was 2,067. The Pilots drew 4,159 when they hosted BYU (and its postgame Q&A) on Saturday at Chiles Center. Not sure why, but BYU stud linebacker Kyle Van Noy was one of the BYU fans in attendance in Portland.- Speaking of attendance, a crowd of 2,014 took in Thursday night's BYU vs. Gonzaga women's game at the Marriott Center and were rewarded with a 70-40 BYU win. BYU's women now have a 21-4 overall record, best in the state. Here's Tribune sportswriter Martin Renzhofer's report on the game. And here's my notebook from the BYU men's basketball practice last night, with more information on the Brock Zylstra ankle injury. Baseball season is right around the corner, and BYU's baseball team looks like it will have its hands full in the WCC. The Cougars are picked to finish seventh in the WCC preseason coaches poll. And here's a link to another blog on Big 12 expansion/BYU by columnist Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman. Tramel responds to a BYU fan from Michigan (of all places). Yeah, they're everywhere, Berry. Just ask Portland. - I posted video of the first half or so of coach Dave Rose's chat with reporters after practice on Thursday. Here's more from Rose: On the benefits of having two point guards on the court at once:"I would love to have three point guards out there at the same time. If we can get guys that can handle it, can pass it, can shoot it, can make plays in transition [I love it]. Usually, it is size that causes you some issues. But when we are playing Craig and Matt at the same time, our ability to enter the ball to our post guys improves, because they are both really good post-entry passers. Our ability to spread the floor a little bit and give them more space inside has really helped us." On whether shot selection improves when 3-point shooting is off: "I think it is all the same. When those guys are on the floor, a lot of it is the personality of the game. If we are hitting shots in the game, then we will want to race that thing up and shoot it quick. If we are having a hard time [making shots], we want to race it up and get it inside, or reverse the ball to the weak side, get it back to the strong side, drive the ball. When you have guys that have those multiple skills, where they can pass, dribble, shoot, it gives you a little bit more diversity with what you can do." On what he draws on to help get the shooters hitting 3-pointers: "Well, I believe that any player who gets himself into a situation where they are not where they want to be, then you spend more time. Repetition. You believe the next one is going in. What we really dwell on is the ones we make. And that's the way we play. And we will make a lot more." On whether he worries if the seniors will handle the pressure of the homestretch: "I don't worry about seniors. When they get to this point, I think they are pretty dialed in. I think what we always kind of concern ourselves with is the guys who are around the seniors and how they are going to perform in tough stretches. The seniors have experience. They have been through this, they know what is coming next. Some of the younger guys, every day is a new experience for them."