Provo • Although the Weber State Wildcats have lost 10 straight games to BYU and never have won a men's basketball game in Provo in 19 tries, the Cougars aren't approaching Friday night's intrastate rivalry game like it is just another easy opener.
Because it isn't.
Weber State "has the makings of a really good club, and I think [coach Randy Rahe] is going to have a really fun year," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "But he's had a lot of fun years. He's won a lot of games up there."
Tipoff is at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Center, and the game will be televised by BYUtv. It will be the second time in three seasons the Cougars will open against a difficult in-state opponent, having lost 69-62 at Utah State in 2011.
"It was the only date we could find that worked out for both of us," Rose said, noting that he wanted to host the Wildcats when school was in session, instead of during the holiday break, so students could provide a home-court advantage.
Weber State is picked to win the Big Sky Conference and returns seven letter-winners off a squad that won 30 games last season. Rose said the Wildcats will be one of the quickest, most athletic teams the Cougars will face this year. Seniors Davion Berry (15.2 ppg.) and Kyle Tresnak (11.8 ppg.) present significant matchup problems, and freshman point guard Jeremy Senglin scored 17 points in an 85-77 exhibition win over Adams State last week.
"I think Randy has got himself a great roster of players," Rose said.
While Rose isn't excited about the prospects of a tough home opener, star guard Tyler Haws said the players relish these kinds of contests, regardless of when they are played.
"For sure," Haws said. "I think we are ready for a challenge. We are looking forward to a good team coming in here. I think our guys are ready. All the young guys are excited and ready for that experience."
Weber State at BYU
O At the Marriott Center (Provo)
Tipoff • Friday, 7 p.m.
TV • BYUtv
Radio • 1160 AM, 1430 AM, 102.7 FM, 103.1 FM
Records • First game
Series history • BYU leads 28-10
Last meeting • BYU 78, WSU 68 (Dec. 15, 2012)
About the Wildcats • They are picked first in the Big Sky preseason media and coaches polls for the fifth time in the last six years. â¦ They have lost 10 straight games to BYU, and are 0-19 all-time against BYU in Provo. â¦ Coach Randy Rahe begins his eighth season as coach at WSU and has won 150 games.
About the Cougars • They are picked to finish second in the West Coast Conference this season, behind No. 14-ranked Gonzaga. â¦ They went 2-0 in exhibition games, with freshman Eric Mika scoring 17 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in last Saturday's 99-68 win over Alaska Anchorage in front of 9,032 fans. â¦ They will make a quick turnaround after this game and head to Palo Alto, Calif., to play Stanford on Monday night.