Best comment from Tuesday's post-practice media availability as the Cougar basketball team prepared to take on Gonzaga on Thursday came from freshman point guard Matt Carlino.
"The rivalry thing just has me flustered," Carlino said, "because I don't really know what it is. I don't think any team in our conference, I don't think any of us like each other. Like, we are not giving hugs after the game. We don't know each other that well anyways, all of our conference opponents. If a rivalry is just wanting to beat the other team, then, yeah, I consider it a rivalry."
Carlino looked fine in practice Tuesday after tweaking his knee in last Thursday's win over San Francisco. He scored a career-high 30 points in that game, you might recall, and made the game-winning basket.
If not for Carlino's heroics, Thursday's game at GU would not mean nearly as much for BYU, which can still get a piece of the WCC regular-season title, believe it or not.
Speaking of that showdown, here's a look at both teams' success from the Spokesman-Review of Spokane.
Here's my notebook, a closer look at Noah Hartsock's situation.
And here's Tribune television critic Scott Pierce's column on the game and how an ESPN analyst believes the WCC is not a step down from the MWC.
More from Carlino, who will have his hands full on Thursday against another outstanding freshman point guard, Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos:
On playing in pressure-filled games:
"My whole life, I have thrived off that, being in the high-pressure games. I think our whole team has. Big-time games, people want to be in those. That's why you play. You don't play to play mediocre teams, or not be on the stage. So we are just really excited for the end of the year, and the final stretch, because we are getting a lot better and we just want to keep getting better."
On whether people treat him differently now that he scored 30 points:
"No, not really. Yeah, I don't think anyone has seen that in a long time, the Jimmer Show, Jimmermania, but no, nothing has changed for me on campus or anything. But I am glad."
On whether this game could spark the rivalry:
"Yeah, I think when two really good teams are going at each other, especially in the same conference, it is always going to be considered a rivalry game. So, it will be fun."
Speaking of Fredette, he didn't play again on Tuesday night as the Sacramento Kings were blown out by the Miami Heat.
A few hours after the loss, Jimmer's brother, T.J. Fredette, criticized Sac coach Keith Smart on his Twitter account:
"Can we please get rid of this interim coach who should be an assistant at best and bring in a real head coach!!"
It was Jimmer's fourth DNP-CD of the season, and probably not the last, especially if Smart gets wind of what T.J. had to say about his abilities.
Tough to blame a big brother for standing up for his little brother, but Twitter probably isn't the place to be doing that.
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