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Provo • Coaches and players always say they won't look past an opponent toward the opponent they play in the following game, but for BYU that is impossible this week.

Because it is the same opponent.

The Cougars face San Diego on Thursday at Jenny Craig Pavilion (9 p.m. MST, ESPN2), then host those same Toreros on Saturday.

"It is weird, definitely weird," said Nate Austin. "To go back-to-back, it is even more weird. It will give us a taste of the NBA playoffs a little bit."

Coach Dave Rose said it is "unique" to not play a conference foe for the first time until the third week of February, let alone play them in what amounts to a double-header.

Senior guard Kyle Collinsworth said the trick will be to focus on Thursday's road game and forget that it is the start of a two-game series.

Rice in Provo

Former UNLV head coach and BYU assistant Dave Rice. was on the sidelines at BYU's practice Tuesday.

Rose said Rice has been in Provo since Sunday night and is observing practices and offering some input.

"It has been great having him around," Rose said. "He's one of the smartest basketball guys I know and [we are] not only just reminiscing about times here — the six teams we had together — but just being able to talk basketball with him, it is good."

Rice talked to the team Tuesday.

"Late-season talks by guys who aren't on your staff are good for your team," Rose said. "They get tired of hearing from us. We've been barking at them for the whole season. To hear from a different guy, that's a good thing."

Seljaas still mending

The Cougars are in better shape than they were a week ago, but Rose said freshman Zac Seljaas is still battling the shoulder injury that caused him to miss the Pepperdine game. He played the past four games, but isn't back to the form he had in late January.

Seljaas has taken just five 3-pointers the past four games, and made two. He played only 14 minutes in the win over Santa Clara on Saturday.

"I think Jordan Chatman gave us some great minutes, too," Rose said. "He has had some games where he has had multiple double-figure minutes, but I think he played 19 and 22 in these [past] two games and I thought it was a good road trip for our guards."


The Cougars average 84.3 points per game and are the eighth-highest scoring offense in the country, and 35th in scoring margin. … Collinsworth is fourth in assists per game (7.3) and Chase Fischer is 18th in 3-point field goals per game (3.1). … Tuesday, Nick Emery received the Wayman Tisdale National Freshman of the Week award after averaging 34.0 points in two games last week.

Twitter: @drewjay Thursday's Game

BYU at San Diego, 9 p.m. MST