p class="TEXT_w_Indent"> "Well, he is getting better every day," Rose said of Mika. "He did a little bit today in practice, not much. We will just see how he feels tomorrow. Hopefully, somehow he gets to where it feels comfortable enough to where we get a few minutes out of him [against Pepperdine]."
If Mika can't go, look for Josh Sharp to play the four and Nate Austin to move over to the five spot. Rose said freshman Luke Worthington will also get more time — and get in the game earlier than usual.
There's also the possibility that the Cougars could go small, and start Kyle Collinsworth at the four and give Matt Carlino his old starting job back, at least for one game.
At least, Carlino can't be considered a shooting guard any more, Rose said.
"No," Rose said when I asked him if Carlino will play both guard positions going forward. "I think Matt would be our backup point guard right now."
Rose said Skyler Halford's backup at the two guard will be Anson Winder, and then he alluded to one reason why he made the switch five games ago to have Collinsworth play the point, instead of Carlino.
"I really believe the defensive presence at the point guard with Kyle there is good for this group," Rose said.
However, Rose wasn't ready to commit to the new starting lineup being a permanent thing.
"I think we will live in the day right here," he said, after confirming he will use it again Thursday night. "Right now, I think these guys are, like I have said before, I think I said last night, that what they have shown us since they have come back from L.A. has been really good. Their attitude has been good, their effort has been good, their energy in practice has been good. And the one game we've played has been good. Hopefully, we can make that two."
Pepperdine could also be without one of its top weapons. Guard Malcolm Brooks sprained his ankle against San Francisco last Saturday and might not be able to play Thursday night. Brooks popped in 24 points in UP's 80-74 win over BYU 10 days ago.
"Well, this team is a very good defensive team," Rose said of the Waves. "They were a really good defensive team last year, but offensively they have got a lot more firepower.
Somewhere close to 60 percent of the points being scored for them now are by guys who weren't on the team last year. So you see a team that was pretty competitive last year, and all the guys that were starting are now reserves, you know that the team has really improved.
But what they have that is really impressive is two skilled post guys who can space the floor really well, can pass and shoot.
And then they have three guards, actually four because they bring one off the bench, who can score and are good shooters.