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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 a clear underdog today against Marquette

Just got settled into my seat here at KFC Yum! center in Louisville for BYU's first-round, second-round, Round of 64, opening-round, whatever-you-want-to-call-it-round game in the NCAA Tournament against No. 3 seed Marquette.

Colorado State and Murray State are going at it right now; Winners will meet on Saturday.

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Do the Cougars have a chance today?

They are six-point underdogs, and Marquette was the second-best team in the Big East this season (behind Syracuse). Most would say the Golden Eagles will win.

If the Cougars have an advantage, though, it is that they won't be as rusty, having played on Tuesday. And they should have worked out some of the jitters and nerves that come in a team's first tournament game.

We will see.

As usual, the Tribune has plenty of coverage in today's paper and online to get you ready.

My preview story focused on whether the Cougars will be able to play free and easy today, having already taken some pressure off themselves with Tuesdays' win.

Here are a couple of columns by Kurt Kragthorpe, a column that was updated last night and a fresh one today on the tournament as a whole.

BYU freshman Damarcus Harrison came up big on Tuesday night, then told reporters on Wednesday that he has decided to go on a church mission. More about that here.

And here's a look at the friendship between BYU coach Dave Rose and Marquette coach Buzz Williams.


I tweeted about this yesterday, but it was a really cool scene for the Cougars on Wednesday before their 40-minute practice session.

Kentucky coach John Calipari walked over to the Cougars and congratulated them on their big win over Iona.

He specifically sought out Noah Hartsock and told Hartsock, "you played your butt off the other night."

Hartsock was grinning ear to ear.

BYU assistant coach Mark Pope played at Kentucky, and UK fans were lined up to get his autograph before the Cougars practiced. Some BYU players were scratching their heads over that development, not realizing that Pope was that well-known. Then again, Kentucky fans are a different breed.

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