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Basketball: BYU's Rose not a proponent of locals-only tourney at ESA

First Published      Last Updated Dec 03 2013 11:20 am

There has been a little bit of talk along the Wasatch Front recently about an idea that has been around for at least 20 years, maybe longer. Why not get the state's top for college basketball programs — Utah, BYU, Utah State and Weber State — together for an annual early-season basketball tournament? Maybe play it at a neutral site — such as EnergySolutions Arena in downtown Salt Lake City.

Utah athletic director Chris Hill mentioned it last month, and Tribune columnist Gordon Monson broached the subject in this way last week.

Saturday, a phenomenal, boisterous, split crowd of 18,235 watched BYU handle USU 85-74 at ESA. The Cougars and Aggies will continue to play at ESA every third year. Next year's game will be played in Logan and the teams will return to Provo in 2015.

BYU plays one or two games a year at ESA because the Marriott Center is unavailable for a week in early December due to the Christmas Around the World production.

Monday, I asked BYU coach Dave Rose whether he would like to see a four-team holiday tournament at ESA each year involving the four top local programs. I got the feeling that he would be against it.

Here is his reply:

"It is hard to get any legs to it because [coaches] want to play games in their home venue," Rose said. "I think if you go to that, but can still figure out a way where teams would travel to everybody's place, it might be something that would have more legs, and [coaches] might be interested in it. But if you are going to play that once a year, and it takes away [home games it won't work].

It is hard to get home games. It is just [part] of all of our business here in the Wasatch area. We've all got good teams. We've got good home venues. So if you take the instate games away, it makes it really difficult to manage that."

Rose had other things on his mind on Monday, most notably tonight's game against 5-3 North Texas at the Marriott Center (7 p.m., BYUtv). The Mean Green is a lot like Texas, which BYU struggled with last Monday before prevailing 86-82 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

Here's my preview of the game in which oddsmakers have established BYU as an 18-point favorite.

I posted some video of the first 3-4 minutes of Rose's 10-minute chat with the media after practice on Monday.

Here are more comments from the coach about a variety of topics, including the new rules in college basketball, his team's rugged nonconference schedule, and how well the Cougars played against the Aggies:

On what improvement he saw against USU:

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