BYU basketball: Cougars' sense of urgency heightened this week
College basketball • BYU has to win it all to go to Big Dance.
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Provo • The BYU basketball team has not won a conference tournament since winning the Mountain West Conference championship in 2001, that league's second year of existence.

But in many of those postseason tournaments since then, the Cougars didn't always have a sense of urgency because they pretty much knew they were going to get an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament, win or lose.

Not so this time around.

The Cougars (21-10) head to Las Vegas for a West Coast Conference quarterfinal game on Friday (9:30 p.m. MT, ESPNU) knowing that they have to win it all to go dancing for the seventh straight year.

"That urgent feeling [is there]," coach Dave Rose said Wednesday. The team "realizes there won't be another chance. ... Hopefully that sense of urgency will kind of permeate through the guys, throughout the roster, to the coaching staff, and that we play our best games while we are down there."

Davies' foul trouble

Senior forward Brandon Davies has been plagued by foul trouble throughout his career, but the tendency to pick up a couple of quick ones and spend most of the first half on the bench has been pronounced the past few games.

Davies knows it is a problem, which he attributes to being too amped up to play in games.

"Sometimes I go in there too aggressively, and instead of letting the game come to me, I force the issue," he said.

Haws says illness won't keep him down

The Cougars were fortunate they didn't have a quick turnaround after Saturday's 70-67 win over Loyola Marymount because sophomore guard Tyler Haws, the WCC's leading scorer, has been ill the past couple of days.

"I came down with something over the weekend, but I am getting better each day," Haws said. "I will be ready for the weekend. ... I will be 100 percent by Friday."

With the Cougars meeting the media before practice Wednesday, Haws said the plan was to "do some stuff today" and go hard Thursday in Las Vegas for the first time all week.

BYU a bid thief?

Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo! sports is calling BYU one of "five potential bid thieves" that could sneak in, win a conference tournament and take a probable NCAA Tournament bid from someone else.

"This isn't one of BYU's better teams, but the Cougars do have two of the league's better players in Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies and a streaky guard in Matt Carlino, who makes the team dangerous when he plays well," Eisenberg wrote. "BYU had Saint Mary's beat in Provo and pushed Gonzaga into the final minutes there as well."

drew@sltrib.com

Twitter: @drewjay —

WCC Tournament

O At Orleans Arena (Las Vegas)

Friday's quarterfinal • No. 3 BYU vs. Pepperdine-San Diego winner

Tipoff • 9:30 p.m. MT

TV • ESPNU