Before the BYU basketball team traveled to Logan in December of 2009 to take on Utah State, I remember asking Jimmer Fredette if he consided the Aggies a big rival.
"I guess they are," Fredette said, not sounding convinced. "Everybody says they are."
No such trepidation now among the Cougars to call Utah State a big basketball rival. BYU players and coach Dave Rose met the media on Monday afternoon after practicing in the Marriott Center, and the words "big game" were spoken often.
BYU (19-8) and Utah State (18-6) meet Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in the game that was originally scheduled to be played on Dec. 5.
"We are excited for it, and I am sure they are as well," BYU's Brandon Davies said. "We are just excited to finally get it going. It was postponed for a little bit, so the hype coming into it kind of died a little bit, I guess, but they are going to come in here ready to play, and we need to be ready to beat them."
I asked Davies where Utah State is on BYU's rivalry scale.
"All the rivalry games are fun games. Everybody gets up for them. They are always good games, so it is hard to put them above anyone, or below anyone," he said. "Obviously, Utah is our biggest rival, but these guys want to beat us as well, so it makes it that much better."
Of course, today is President's Day, so there were no classes at BYU, which meant the players practiced around lunchtime, instead of at 3 p.m. or so.
Davies was asked by Jason Franchuk of the Provo Daily Herald to name his favorite president.
"President Monson," Davies said, after a long pause.
The game pits two of the best post players in the West, Davies and USU's Jarred Shaw, a 6-10 junior who is averaging 14.1 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.
"He's a great player," Davies said. "We will do some things as we do with everyone to try to stop him, and try to get them sped up."
As for the Cougars, Davies said he believes the Cougars are a reborn team after walloping Portland on Saturday night.
"We have turned over a new leaf that we need to be the aggressor in games. When everyone is doing that, everyone can get into the flow of things and all the guys can play really well for us," he said.
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