Brigham Young Cougars (25-8) vs. Xavier Musketeers (24-8)
When: Thursday, 9:40 p.m.
BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS
1. Provo is an international destination. No, really.
Hanging next to Danny Ainge's oversized jersey in from the rafters of the Marriott Center is that of Kresimir Cosic. Cosic, a 6'11" center from Croatia, became in 1972 the first foreign player to be named a UPI All-American. BYU's international pipeline has recently shifted to Brazil, where former Cougar and first round NBA draft pick (hey, don't laugh, it's true!) Rafael Araujo is from. Current Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Johnathan Tavernari and reserve forward Fernando Malaman are also Brazilian, as is assistant coach Walter Roese. BYU's student body is especially well-suited to welcoming international players, since more than 70 percent of BYU students are fluent in a second language.
2. Keena Young was born to play for BYU. You just wouldn't know that by looking at him.
Keena Young, BYU's starting forward and the reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, has a family history perfect for the university. Of course, the Young family shares a last name with the university's namesake, Brigham Young. But Young's mother's first name, LaVella, is remarkably similar to that of legendary former Cougar Head Football Coach LaVell Edwards. And Young's father, Cleveland, shares a name with former head basketball coach Steve Cleveland, who recruited Young to BYU before leaving to take the head coaching job at Fresno State in 2005.
3. "Hey, are you the coach's son?" In keeping with the family-oriented focus of the school's sponsoring religion, BYU's basketball team has featured various family ties throughout the years. Starting point guard Austin Ainge is the son of former Wooden-Award winning Cougar guard and current Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge. Reserve guard and 3-point shooting specialist Mike Rose is the nephew of head coach Dave Rose. And last season's lone departing senior, Brock Reichner, is Rose's son-in-law, having married Rose's daughter (and former Lady Cougar basketball player) Chanell. Former BYU coach Roger Reid coached his sons Randy and Robbie on the team prior to being fired in 1996. — Joel Baughman
1. Can't touch this! Junior guard Stanley Burrell is the second leading scorer for the Musketeers. No, not that Stanley Burrell!. The Xavier student section had nicknamed him "The Hammer" before he even set foot on campus.
2. Dinner at 4...in bed by 9! Xavier has one of the oldest, most experienced squads in college basketball. Their players stay all four years, and they graduate. They have nine upperclassman on their roster. Throw in the dismissed Dedrick Finn, and Xavier's starting five would include four seniors and one junior. Fans across the Atlantic 10 constantly say to themselves, "Wait, Doellman is STILL there? That guy has to be like 60!"
3. The poop of angels. The University of Cincinnati is Xavier's main rival. If you think Duke and UNC are close (10 miles), Xavier and UC are only 3 miles apart. Skyline Chili is the sponsor of the annual Xavier vs. Cincinnati Crosstown Shootout/hatefest. For those of you not familiar with Skyline, I suggest you suck it up and make a trip to the greater Cincinnati area and try a delicious coney or 3-way. Yes, I know it's "in Ohio" but trust me when I say that Skyline chili truly is "the poop of angels." — Scott DeMange