West Region: No. 8 BYU (25-7) vs. No. 9 Texas A&M (23-9)
When: Thursday, 12:30 p.m., EDT
Where: Wachovia Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS
1) Still a Cougar BYU Head Coach Dave Rose played his college ball at Houston as a co-captain of the 1983 Phi Slama Jama team (front row, third from right) featuring Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. NBA fans can also thank him for unleashing the elastic madness that was the pre-alcoholism Keon Clark, whom he coached at Dixie State. In his fourth season at BYU after inheriting a 9-21 team, Rose's teams have won at least a share of the regular season conference title three years in a row.
2) A Player/Pronunciation Guide:
• LEE CUMMARD (cuh–MAHRD) / 16.8 ppg. The former MWC Player of the Year is 6'7" and a mere 190 lbs, making Cummard a poor man's Reggie Miller, and quite possibly Reggie's white doppelganger. Despite his skeleton-ness, Cummard has never missed a game in four years.
• JIMMER FREDETTE (Frah–debt) / 16.2 ppg. Glen Falls, NY's finest, the 6'2" sophomore guard not only allows grown men to call him "Jimmer", he is also twelfth highest on the New York high school boys basketball career scoring list.
• JONATHAN TAVERNARI (tah–ver–NAHR–ee) / 15.9 ppg. The Brazilian import hasn't let this disturbing eye gouge from 2007 stop him from putting up shots with wild abandon.
• CHARLES ABOUO (a–BOO–oh) / 3.0 ppg. Arrived at BYU via the well-worn basketball path of Côte d'Ivoire to Provo, Utah. An artist, cook, and lacrosse aficionado, Abouo is the most surprising player on the team to speak with a Cache Valley accent.
3) The Road Home Despite posting a 59-3 record at home over the past four years, the Cougars haven't been out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament since the 1992-93 team which featured Mark Durrant, the current color commentator for the team's radio broadcast. — Spencer Hall (Salt City Hoops)
1) Not the Same Guy Did you know the legendary Bernard King went to Texas A&M? No? That's because he didn't. Well, a guy named Bernard King went there in the early part of this decade, and he was pretty good, but couldn't hold a candle to this guy.
2) Do We Have to Salute the Dog? A&M is famous for its corps of cadets, and their adopted collie mascot, Reveille. The dog might seem like a cute sideline ornament, but she carries real weight in College Station. You see, the Army has officially designated Reveille as a Cadet General, which makes her the highest-ranking member of A&M's corps.
3) Déjà vu, Man. The Aggies' first round opponent is Brigham Young. Which is kind of strange, because their first round opponent last year was ... Brigham Young. In '08, A&M got past the Cougars and narrowly missed upsetting #2 seed UCLA, losing 51-49. If they manage to repeat that feat this season, it will likely be a #1—UConn this time—gunning for them. — Eric Angevine (Storming The Floor)