Provo • BYU coach Dave Rose has always said he wants good tests out of the handful of college basketball exhibitions he gets each season, and not just live bodies the Cougars can put 100-plus points on before real games start later this month.
The Alaska Anchorage Seawolves, an NCAA Division II program that plays out of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, certainly fits the bill. Although Saturday's 7 p.m. matchup at the Marriott Center came about coincidentally, the programs have so many ties that it almost appears it was set up by design.
More importantly, the Seawolves "are absolutely a good team," Rose said, noting that coach Rusty Osborne always has a "wonderful program" that has made it to the NCAA Division II Tournament five times in his nine years at the helm.
Rose and Osborne have known each other since their prep basketball-playing days in Houston, and once talked about joining forces at Dixie College early in their careers.
Also, UAA's roster includes two Utahns and three LDS returned missionaries.
Junior guard Teancum Stafford, an RM from Auburn, Wash., played at Snow College before moving on to UAA. He averaged 14.2 points per game last year, second-best on the team. Former Jordan High forward Jacob Craft, 6-7, and former Bingham forward Brad Mears, 6-9, have also joined Osborne's program after serving church missions.
The Seawolves went 18-9 last year and are picked to finish second in the GNAC.
"They have got a bunch of shooters," said BYU star Tyler Haws. "â¦ They are going to be ready to play. It will be a fun place for them to play, coming to the Marriott Center."
BYU downed DIII Colorado College 94-59 last Saturday in its exhibition opener and will start the season next Friday at home against Weber State. Rose said he wants to see improvement, especially on defense, after the Cougars struggled to find their opponent's shooters in the first half.
"The main thing is you want to play well," he said. You want to see some of the habits you have tried to instill in your players during practice, see them during a game."
Alaska Anchorage defeated an alumni team 120-91 last week, with guard Travis Thompson scoring 34 points after redshirting last year.
Alaska Anchorage at BYU
Saturday, 7 p.m.