Provo • At last count, 24 NBA scouts had requested seats to attend Wednesday night's BYU-San Diego State basketball game at the Marriott Center.
More than 22 media members not including photographers and support personnel had asked for credentials, including scribes from Sports Illustrated, ESPN.com and other national publications and websites.
The 8:15 p.m. matchup pitting No. 4 San Diego State (20-0) and No. 9 BYU (19-1) will easily be the most-watched, most-followed regular-season college basketball game, from a national perspective, in state history. The 22,700-seat arena was sold out a week ago, and BYU students have already started lining up on the west side of the building to get the best seats in the student section.
"Everybody wants to come and watch this game, and it is a big deal," acknowledged BYU superstar Jimmer Fredette, the country's leading scorer (26.7 ppg.). "Two top-10 teams playing against each other in the Mountain West Conference, something that doesn't happen all that often. â¦ It is going to be crazy."
Naturally, the Cougars say they are treating it like just another conference game.
"These are really important league games," BYU coach Dave Rose said Monday. "Every game is valued exactly the same. Now the hype around this game will be totally different, people will be talking about it. But once the ball is thrown up, it is a game. There will be an electric atmosphere. We have played in a lot of great atmospheres this year. But it will settle in to where it is San Diego State against BYU in a Mountain West Conference game."
Rose said the coaching staff will "have to manage [the hype] and control that a little bit" with the players, and will rely on their two experienced senior guards Fredette and Jackson Emery to keep things in perspective.
"Obviously, we want to keep it in perspective, what we want to accomplish this year, and that's to win the conference championship," Emery said. "In order to win that, you have to beat these guys.
"More importantly, you have to defend your home floor. That's the biggest thing. You can't let No. 4 and No. 9 in the country going at it get to your head too much. You just have to understand it is a conference game, and you gotta win it."
Fredette was named the MWC Player of the Week for the fourth straight time, sixth time this season, and 13th time in his career on Monday. â¦ Several gurus who calculate a Rating Percentage Index (RPI) have BYU at No. 1 in the country heading into the game. â¦ The Cougars remained at No. 9 in both major polls, while SDSU jumped from No. 6 to No. 4 in both.
P No. 4 San Diego State at No. 9 BYU, 8:15 p.m.
TV • CBS College Sports