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Provo • College basketball teams were allowed to start practices earlier than normal this year in preparation for the 2013-14 season, but BYU coach Dave Rose chose to wait until Oct. 7.

He's glad he did.

"It feels like we have been practicing for a long time," Rose said after Tuesday's workout at the Marriott Center. "I think the guys are ready to just be able to have a break in their schedule."

That comes Wednesday, as BYU holds its annual Cougar Tipoff at the Marriott Center. Doors open at 6 p.m., and the intrasquad scrimmage begins at 7 p.m., and admission is free.

"We are still playing each other, but just to be able to play in front of people and have a different feel in here, and then to evaluate film and have a controlled scrimmage as far as fouls and things are concerned will be good for us," Rose said.

Rose said he will divide the squad into blue and white teams for the first half, but will mix it up for the second half. Focus will be on the usual: uptempo pace, inbounds plays and free-throw shooting on offense, and team play on defense, as the Cougars transition to more of a man-to-man team than a zone team, as they were last year.

"I think our guards this year are a little more athletic, so we are putting a lot more responsibility on our guards, as far as defensively," Rose said. "So those are things we will try to emphasize."

Exhibition opener

The Cougars will open the exhibition season on Saturday in the Marriott Center against Colorado College, which is out of Colorado Springs, Colo. The second exhibition game is Nov. 2 against Alaska-Anchorage. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.

Loyal to the blue

Rose played basketball for the University of Houston, of course, but was surprised to learn that last Saturday's football matchup between BYU and Houston was the first meeting in that sport between his alma mater and current employer.

"There is no question who I was pulling for. That last [touchdown] pass was a happy moment for my wife and I as we were watching the game," he said, noting that he enjoyed the halftime tribute to his former coach at Houston, Guy Lewis. "It ended how it should have — offense winning."

Briefly named BYU's Tyler Haws as the third-best off-guard in the country on Friday, behind only Louisville's Russ Smith and Michigan State's Gary Harris. "He's the best player in the country at moving without the ball," the website noted. … Rose said there are three or four different starting lineups that coaches are toying with, but declined to say which players have earned starting roles.

Twitter: @drewjay —

Cougar Tipoff

When • Wednesday, 7 p.m.

Where • Marriott Center, Provo

Admission • Free

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